Malawi declares state of disaster as death toll rises to 99

The storm destroyed transport infrastructure including roads and bridges

At least 99 people have died in Malawi after Tropical Storm Freddy swept through southern Africa for the second time in a month.

Frightening amounts of brown water have flown through neighborhoods, sweeping away homes.

Malawi’s largest city, Blantyre, has recorded the highest number of deaths – 85, including 36 from a landslide.

The government has declared a state of disaster in 10 districts hardest hit by the storm.

Rescue workers are overwhelmed and use shovels to find survivors buried in the mud.

“We have rivers overflowing, we have people being swept away by flowing waters, we have buildings collapsing,” police spokesman Peter Kalaya told the BBC.

The death toll is expected to rise as some areas remain cut off due to unrelenting rain and fierce winds.

Officials at the main referral hospital in Blantyre said they could not cope with the sheer number of bodies they were receiving.

They appealed to the bereaved to collect the bodies for burial as the hospital morgue was running out of space.

The storm also crippled Malawi’s electricity supply, with sustained power outages in most parts of the country.

The national electric company said it was unable to get its hydroelectric power station to work because it was filled with debris.

Densely populated poorer communities living in brick and mud houses are hardest hit.

Some of these homes have collapsed in the floods, while others have been completely swept away.

The United Nations and other organizations have warned the storm’s timing could exacerbate a cholera outbreak — one of Malawi’s worst public health crises.

The government has appealed for help for the tens of thousands of people left without food and shelter.

Freddy is the strongest tropical cyclone of all time and may also be the longest-lasting, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

On Sunday, the storm hit Mozambique as a cyclone – for the second time in less than a month – after battering the Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar and causing severe destruction.

It has been difficult to determine the extent of the damage caused in Mozambique and the number of deaths due to power cuts and phone reception in some parts of the affected areas.

About 10 deaths have been reported so far.

Experts say climate change is making tropical storms wetter, windier and more intense around the world.

Freddy had broken records for the power it had accumulated in the 8,000 km (5,000 miles) journey it had traveled from north-west Australia across the Indian Ocean.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *