MALAWI (Reuters): Mozambique and Malawi on Monday were counting the cost of Tropical Storm Freddy, which killed more than 100 people, injured scores and left a trail of destruction as it ripped through southern Africa for the second time in a month over the weekend.
Freddy is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere and could be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
It pummelled central Mozambique on Saturday, ripping roofs off buildings and bringing widespread flooding around the port of Quelimane, before moving inland towards Malawi with torrential rains that caused landslides.
The full extent of the damage and loss of life in Mozambique in particular is not yet clear, as the power supply and phone signals were cut off in some parts of the affected area.
The storm has killed 99 people in Malawi, including 85 in the main commercial hub of Blantyre, said the commissioner of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba, at a press briefing.
The total number killed by storm Freddy in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar since it first made landfall last month is now around 136.
The central hospital in Blantyre had received at least 60 bodies by early afternoon, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) country director Marion Pechayre told Reuters by telephone, adding that some 200 injured were being treated in the hospital.
The injuries were from falling trees, landslides and flash floods, she said. “A lot of (houses) are mud houses with tin roofs, so the roofs fall on people’s heads.”
Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya told Reuters that rescue teams had been looking for people in Chilobwe and Ndirande, two of the worst-affected townships in Blantyre, the country’s second-largest city, where it was still raining on Monday and many residents were without power.