Malawi: 11 dead and 16 missing as Cyclone Freddy takes hold

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At least 11 people were confirmed dead on Monday after a deadly tropical storm slammed into southern Malawi, leaving many injured and unaccounted for, local authorities told CNN.

“The whole of southern Malawi is under the influence of Cyclone Freddy,” Malawi police spokesman Peter Kalaya said.

“We started feeling the impact of the cyclone on Friday. It has caused a lot of havoc. In Blantyre alone, which is the commercial capital of Malawi in the southern region, this morning as of 7:00 a.m. (1:00 a.m. ET), we got reports of 11 confirmed deaths with 16 people missing, most of whom have been carried away by running waters, and several others have been injured,” he added.

Kalaya warned the numbers of dead and missing could rise due to the heavy rains and strong winds.

Schools will remain shut in 10 of the worst affected districts until Wednesday, Malawi’s education ministry said in a statement.

Kalaya said the destruction caused by the storm had inundated roadways and triggered blackouts in Malawi’s worst affected areas, making rescue efforts difficult.

“They [rescue teams] are trying their best to provide the help they can. Where they can move around, they are moving around. Because the rains are still falling, rescue efforts are affected in different locations,” he told CNN.

A tree lies across a street in Quelimane, Mozambique Sunday, March 12, 2023.

The deadly Cyclone Freddy has broken records for the longest-lasting storm of its kind and has struck neighboring Mozambique and also Madagascar, killing a total of more than 20 people and displacing thousands of others across both countries.

It has been described as a “very rare” storm by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which called its journey so far “incredible and dangerous.”

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