Malawi sends out SOS in aftermath of deadly Cyclone Freddy

Malawi has set aside two weeks to mourn over 300 people who were killed when Cyclone Freddy battered the southern African country over a week ago.

The government also declared a state of emergency to deal with the trail of destruction left behind by the deadly storm.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said the total number of people who died across southern Africa has reached more than 400.

“As of yesterday, the death toll has risen from 225 to 326 in [Malawi],” Chakwera said, noting that the number of displaced people has also doubled to 183 159.

The chances of finding survivors has become rather slim as rescue workers continue to discover more bodies.

Chakwera has appealed for medical assistance following heavy rains accompanied by strong winds which also led to mudslides.

More than 300 emergency shelters have been set up for survivors, while the army and police have been deployed to deal with the natural disaster.

“The cyclone has destroyed property, homes, crops and infrastructure, including bridges that have cut off communities that desperately need help,” Chakwera said.

Cyclone Freddy first hit Madagascar early in February before making a landfall in Mozambique.

The storm then moved back out over the Indian Ocean where it gathered momentum from the warm waters before it returned to Malawi for the second time.

The rains have eased since Wednesday, but Cyclone Freddy is still on track to become one of the world’s longest tropical storms.

In Mozambique, the storm killed at least 73 people and displaced tens of thousands of people over the past weeks. It killed a further 17 people in Madagascar.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has also appealed for emergency aid to rebuild destroyed infrastructure after visiting the stricken province of Zambezia, which borders Malawi.

Lacking sniffer dogs and only armed with shovels, rescuers in Malawi made a grim hunt for buried and decomposing bodies lying amid the debris from destroyed homes.

In Manje, a township 15km south of Blantyre, five bodies were recovered after locals said they spotted bubbles forming under the muddy rubble.

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