Freddy’s rains continue as Malawi flooding death toll rises

By Laureen Fagan - 14 March 2023 at 10:59 pm
Freddy’s rains continue as Malawi flooding death toll rises

Tropical storm Freddy continues to impact Malawi with flooding rains and mudslides that have claimed some 200 lives, although some improvement in storm conditions is forecast by Wednesday evening.

“However, the threat of flooding remains high in some areas,” warned the country’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in a Tuesday evening update. Blantyre and other southern zones could still expect to see windy conditions and more than 50 millimeters of rain, adding up to 400mm to 500mm over the space of 72 hours in the region.

People are urged to seek higher ground and stay away from rivers and streams. They’re also asked to watch out for falling trees and other storm impacts.

Authorities in Malawi say many of the fatalities happened in Blantyre, with mudslides destroying homes in the Chilobwe township on the outskirts of the city. A late-night Capital FM report said some residents panicked at rumors that new floods were on the way, though that hadn’t yet proved to be the case.

Freddy became the longest-lived tropical storm ever recorded after first developing off the North Australian coast and becoming a named storm on February 6. It looped across Madagascar and southeastern Africa twice, making its second landfall near Quelimane in neighboring Mozambique with more than 200mm of rain in 24 hours, according to the most recent update from UNOCHA, the United Nations humanitarian agency.

Madagascar’s National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) said 17 people had died due to storm impacts there, while at least 20 people died in Mozambique.

Image: UN Malawi


Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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