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