March 30, 2023

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Cyclone Freddy kills more than 400 in South Africa, mostly in Malawi

Hurricane Freddie, With exceptional longevityMore than 400 people have been killed in South Africa, most of them in Malawi, where the toll worsened on Thursday evening, with survivors expected to become increasingly thin.

Freddie has hit the region twice in a few weeks, killing 73 people in its path in Mozambique, 17 in Madagascar and now 326 in Malawi, according to the latest national report released this evening by the landlocked country’s president. The world’s poor.

“Since yesterday (Wednesday), the death toll from this disaster has risen from 225 to 326, and the number of displaced people has doubled,” said Lazarus Zakwera, who has crossed 183,000 in Malawi. Center of bad weather.

Malawi was hit hard

Created in early FebruaryAustraliaClassified as the longest cyclone on record, the cyclone crossed an unprecedented east-to-west distance of more than 8,000 km across the Indian Ocean.

It first made landfall on the east coast of Madagascar on February 21, killing 7 people. Raging for more than thirty-five days, the event then hit Mozambique, killing 10 people. Then he touched back in early March Madagascar The second time, it caused 10 more deaths. He returned to Mozambique, where he caused 63 more deaths.

But it was in Malawi, where rainfall levels have so far increased, that Cyclone Freddie hit on Monday and caused the most damage. Weakened but sustained winds of up to 200 km/h on return, the event brought torrential rains, leading to severe flooding and landslides. The densely populated area of ​​Blantyre was devastated. A state of emergency and two weeks of national mourning have been declared. The police and army were mobilized.

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They were buried in the mud

On Thursday, neighbors and rescue workers continued to scour the mud in hopes of finding survivors. But rescue operations more and more often result in a gruesome collection of rotting bodies.

In Manje town near Blantyre, residents called for help. Hundreds of bodies are buried in the mud, they promiseAFP. A putrid smell and air bubbles rising to the surface from the waterlogged ground cause little suspicion. In front of a house in poor condition and covered with earth, a dozen citizens and five soldiers begin to dig up the first body of a man. “I hope they find other bodies so they can be buried and rest in peace,” said Rose Phiri, an elderly woman from the area.

In the midst of desolation, hope sometimes arises: the day before, help miraculously saved a child. 13-year-old Promise has been stuck in the mud for three days in his collapsed home.

Call for help

President Saguera reiterated his call for help on Thursday, saying “the needs are enormous”. The head of state had earlier called for international aid to deal with the disaster, describing the disaster as a “national tragedy”.

In neighboring Mozambique, the President Visiting the worst-hit Zambezia (centre) province on the border with Malawi on Wednesday, Philippe Nyusi called for the “urgent” mobilization of national and international aid to “repair the destroyed infrastructure”. Tropical storms and cyclones appear several times a year in the southwestern Indian Ocean during the cyclone season, which lasts from November to April.

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