Malawi Appeals for Help as Cyclone Freddy Death Toll Increases
By Gift Briton
With tropical cyclone Freddy still wreaking havoc in Malawi, local and international organizations continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims as death toll rises to 225.
Tropical cyclone Freddy (one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the southern Africa region), has caused destruction, mudslides, flooding, displacement and death of hundreds of people.
According to the United Nations (UN), at least 225 people have died, 700 others injured and 88,000 displaced in Malawi alone.
Although the storm has dissipated and weather conditions are expected to get better, the weather forecasters in Malawi warn that localised thunderstorms would persist and that the country is still vulnerable to flooding and landslide.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera while attending mass funeral of some of the victims of cyclone Freddy in the city of Blantyre, declared two weeks of national mourning with flags flying at half-mast for the first seven days.
“What cyclone Freddy has done is to pull us back even when we were trying to rebuild because of past tragedies. I appeal to the international community to please look at us with such favour because we need help,” he said.
President Chakwera who also visited Queen Elizabeth hospital on Thursday, where he prayed with flood victims noted that “the level of devastation we are dealing with here is greater than the resources we have at our disposal.”
The government of Malawi has promised approximately $1.5 million to assist the tens of thousands of Malawians affected by the storm, with the military and police leading search and rescue operations for the victims, which are set to continue for at least for a couple of days.
According to the World Meteorological Organization Freddy is one of the longest and deadliest tropical cyclones ever recorded in Africa in recent years. Freddy became a named storm on February 6, making the first landfall in Madagascar on February 21 and sweeping over the island.