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Cyclone Freddy: Winds and rain lash Mozambique as storm arrives

March 12, 2023
A man walks on a flooded street near Quelimane, Mozambique ob Saturday. — courtesy EPA
A man walks on a flooded street near Quelimane, Mozambique ob Saturday. — courtesy EPA

JOHANNESBURG — Mozambique is being lashed by rain, powerful winds and flooding as Cyclone Freddy makes landfall for the second time in a month.

The southern African nation has received more than a year’s worth of rainfall in the past four weeks.

Freddy may become the longest-lasting storm on record, having formed to the northwest of Australia 34 days ago.

One person is reported to have died, bringing the death toll to at least 28 since the storm first made landfall.

The cyclone made its second landfall near the eastern seaport of Quelimane at around 22:00 (20:00 GMT) on Saturday.

People have been urged to move into temporary shelters — including schools, churches and warehouses.

More than half a million people could be at risk of a humanitarian crisis this time around, according to local disaster agencies.

As the high winds hit the country, one person died when his house collapsed, Reuters news agency quotes state channel TVM as saying.

Electricity has been turned off as a precaution by the power utility firm and all flights have been suspended, according to TVM.

The cyclone is reported to have stalled offshore and is thought to be making its way on to land soon.

“I can see some houses with roofs torn apart, broken windows and the streets flooded. It’s really scary,” charity worker Vania Massingue, from the port city of Quelimane in Zambezia province, told Reuters.

Experts said climate change is making tropical storms around the world wetter, windier and more intense.

Freddy had already broken records for the strength it has accumulated over the 8,000-km (5,000-mile) path it travelled across the Indian Ocean for northwestern Australia.

Mozambique’s national disaster management agency estimates more than 1.5 million people have been affected since the storm first hit last month, with more than 8,000 forced from their homes.

A humanitarian operation is under way in the region, but there are fears that aid efforts may be hampered by new heavy rains from Freddy’s return.

Neighboring Malawi — where health authorities are battling a cholera outbreak —is also set to be affected.

Weather experts predict the cyclone will bring destructive winds and extreme rainfall over large areas, including northeast Zimbabwe as well as south-east Zambia. — BBC


March 12, 2023
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