The extraordinarily long-lived tropical storm "Freddy" has left a trail of devastation in southeast Africa for the second time in a month. In Malawi, the number of victims rose to 99 on Monday evening, according to the state television station MBC. A few hours earlier, the station reported 56 deaths. The storm hit the country on Friday evening.
President Lazarus Chakwera declared a state of emergency for the hardest hit region, southern Malawi, on Monday evening. According to the Ministry of Health, at least eight people have died in neighboring Mozambique over the weekend.
There were also deaths in the island state of Madagascar. According to official information, a total of 134 people have died in the three countries in the past three weeks. "Freddy" reached land for the first time on February 21 - in Madagascar. From there the storm moved on to Mozambique and then back across the Indian Ocean. On March 11, "Freddy" reached Mozambique and Malawi for the second time.
The number of victims is provisional. In Madagascar alone, where at least 17 people lost their lives, and Mozambique, where a total of 18 people died, almost half a million people need humanitarian aid, according to the UN Emergency Relief Office Ocha.
The full extent of the damage can therefore only be estimated in the next few days. According to the UN, "Freddy" is expected to cause heavy rain and flooding in the region until Wednesday.
According to the World Weather Organization (WMO), the storm, which has been raging for more than a month, is likely to be the longest-lasting cyclone since weather records began. "Freddy" was declared a cyclone on February 6. Southern Africa is currently in cyclone season which can bring rain and severe storms through March or April.