Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Cyclone Freddy destroys Malawi and Mozambique, killing hundreds

Hundreds dead as Cyclone Freddy wrecks Malawi, Mozambique

Malawie's BLANTYRE: At least 216 people have died in Malawi and Mozambique since Saturday night as a result of the devastating Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which has made a rare second landfall in southern Africa. The death toll is expected to rise.

Weighty downpours that set off floods and landslides have killed 199 individuals in Malawi, specialists said Tuesday. The country's southern region and the now-devastated commercial capital of Blantyre were declared to be in a "state of disaster" by President Lazarus Chakwera. The disaster management directorate in Malawi reports that approximately 19,000 people in the south of the country have been forced to relocate.

At a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, the spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, stated, "Power and communications are down in many affected areas, preventing aid operations." The full extent of the damage is currently unknown because the most affected areas remain inaccessible.

On Tuesday, the disaster institute in Mozambique reported that 17 people had died in the country and that 1,900 homes in the coastal Zambezia province had been destroyed. Tens of thousands of people remain stranded in storm shelters and centers for lodging.

The United Nations' meteorological center on the island of Reunion predicted that Freddy would continue to pound central Mozambique and southern Malawi with heavy rain until it returned to the sea late Wednesday afternoon.

Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights, has urged the world community to pool resources and intensify aid and rescue efforts in the two nations. When Freddy struck, the nations were already fighting a cholera outbreak and relief efforts were strained.

Amnesty International's east and southern Africa director Tigere Chagutah stated, "It is clear that the official death toll will rise in both Malawi and Mozambique, as will reports of wrecked infrastructure." The cyclone-caused loss and damage must be compensated for by the affected nations as well."

Countries agreed in November of last year to compensate nations affected by extreme weather made worse by climate change caused by humans. As the planet warms, scientists claim, cyclones become more intense, more frequent, and wetter.

Chagutah continued, "Mozambique and Malawi are among the least responsible countries for climate change, yet they are facing the full force of storms that are intensifying due to global warming driven primarily by carbon emissions from the world's wealthiest nations."

Since late February, cyclone Freddy has devastated southern Africa. As it crossed the Indian Ocean last month, it also smashed into the island nations of Madagascar and RĂ©union.

The cyclone has intensified a record seven times and has the highest ever recorded accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), which measures the amount of energy a cyclone has released over time. Over its lifetime, Freddy recorded more energy than a typical hurricane season in the United States.

Freddy is expected to be the longest tropical cyclone ever recorded, having begun to form near Australia at the beginning of February. An expert panel has been convened by the United Nations' weather agency to determine whether it has broken Hurricane John's 1994 record of 31 days. 

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