According to Charles Kalemba, the country’s Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, at least 99 persons were reported deceased on Monday after Cyclone Freddy struck southern Malawi.
According to Kalemba, the majority of the fatalities occurred in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial center.
“We have documented 99 people dead in roughly seven councils, with Blantyre city as the highest with 85 dead and approximately 134 people in Blantyre alone hospitalized,” Kalemba said to CNN on Monday night. The number of those killed and hurt, he said, could increase.
The southern part of Malawi is now officially under a “state of catastrophe,” according to the government.
President of the nation Lazarus Chakwera “has noted with extreme worry the destruction that Cyclone Freddy is currently bringing to most districts in Malawi’s Southern region,” according to a government news release.
The statement said, “As a result, the government is already responding to emergencies, providing prompt help to all impacted districts, and appealing for local and international support for all the families affected by this calamity.
According to a statement released on Sunday by Malawi’s education ministry, schools will remain closed until Wednesday in ten of the most impacted districts. On Monday morning, Malawi police spokesman Peter Kalaya told CNN that the storm’s devastation had flooded roads and caused blackouts in the worst-affected areas.
Kalemba referred to the rescue operations as “difficult”.
“The rain keeps coming down in great amounts. Landslides, flash floods, and stones sliding down some hills are currently happening. Rescue efforts are challenging due to the weather. It’s difficult to get to some of the places where we have to go to rescue people. It’s challenging, but we’re making sure to complete the task at hand, he said.
More than 20 people have been killed and thousands of others have been displaced by the devastating Cyclone Freddy, which has set records for the longest-lasting storm of its kind and hit Madagascar and its neighbor Mozambique. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which dubbed its voyage thus far “amazing and perilous,” classified it as a “very rare” storm.