(Blantyre) Cyclone Freddy killed 463 people in southern Africa, including 360 in Malawi, according to a latest report Friday evening in this country among the poorest, where the UN fears a humanitarian crisis with more than half a million people affected by the disaster.
“We expect the damage and death toll to worsen as new areas become accessible,” said President Lazarus Chakwera, who has been visiting areas hit by the “monstrosity for three days.” of Freddie”.
The local UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) clarified in its latest update that the cyclone had “reduced in an area of low pressure and completely dissipated on March 15”.
But in six days, the equivalent of six months of rain fell on southern Malawi, the epicenter of the bad weather, which led to deadly floods and landslides.
“More than 500,000 people have been affected since March 12,” according to OCHA. Some 183,000 people out of a population of nearly 20 million lost their homes.
More than 300 emergency shelters have been opened, but the destruction is still limiting access for humanitarian teams and making aid difficult, the World Food Program (WFP) said in a statement.
“It’s all gone, the potatoes, the corn,” Loveness Makhala, a mother of four, told AFP. The harvest was to take place in a month. Picking up bits of sheet metal and bricks, the remains of her house, she confesses that she does not know “how we are going to spend the year without a house and without food”.
The exceptionally long-lived Cyclone Freddy also killed 86 people in Mozambique and 17 in Madagascar.
It followed a looping path rarely recorded by meteorologists, hitting Madagascar and Mozambique for the first time at the end of February, then again in March these two countries and Malawi.
In the latter country, more than 280,000 children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, UNICEF spokeswoman Fungma Fudong told AFP.
“There is a risk that the current cholera epidemic will worsen, with children being the most vulnerable to this crisis,” she added.
A state of disaster has been declared in the country, the police and the army deployed. President Chakwera appealed for international assistance.
“The country will need significant support,” said WFP Malawi Director Paul Turnbull, promising to mobilize as quickly as possible.
South Africa lends a hand to the rescue teams, the United Kingdom must also send reinforcements. Neighboring Zambia sent food and tents, according to a statement from the Minister of Defence.