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Malawi has been left devastated after Cyclone Freddy ripped through the country and neighboring Mozambique, leaving more than 200 people dead.
On Tuesday, President Lazarus Chakwera declared a “state of disaster” in the country’s southern region and the capital, Blantyre. Malawi’s disaster management directorate reports that as many as 19,000 have been displaced.
“Power and communications are down in many affected areas, hindering aid operations,” said Stephane Dujarric, the U.N. Secretary General’s spokesperson, at a press briefing.
The storm triggered floods and landslides over the weekend, and rescue workers have warned that more victims were likely. In Mozambique, the death toll is currently at 20 people, with 1,900 homes having been destroyed in the coastal Zambezia province. Freddy is expected to exit back to the sea late Wednesday afternoon, the U.N.’s meteorological center on the island of Réunion projected.
This is the second record-breaking cyclone to hit Southern Africa since late February. Freddy holds the record for most accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), a measure based on a storm’s wind strength over its lifetime, of any storm in the southern hemisphere and possibly worldwide, per Reuters. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Freddy may have also broken the record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record.
Charles Kalemba, a Department of Disaster Management Affairs agency commissioner, told CNN yesterday that the situation had worsened in southern Malawi.
“It’s worse today. A number of places are flooding and a number of roads and bridges are cut. Visibility is almost zero. Electricity is off and also network is a problem. It’s becoming more and more dire,” Kalemba said.