Lilongwe: Tropical Cyclone Freddy has killed at least 66 people, injured 93, and displaced over 2,000 people, the Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) said Monday.
The MRCS said the Malawian government has confirmed the development through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), and that it is conducting search and rescue, first aid, and hospital evacuation in coordination with government agencies in response efforts.
The Ministry of Health and the DoDMA, in collaboration with various humanitarian partners, have been coordinating preparedness and response interventions in strategic points in the country’s 10 districts that have been heavily affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
A statement released Sunday by DoDMA Commissioner Charles Kalemba said the DoDMA has deployed members of the national search and rescue team comprising the Malawi Police Service, the Marine Department, and the Malawi Red Cross Society.
The team and equipment have been pre-positioned in the flood-prone border districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa, according to the statement. DoDMA has also stockpiled relief items at the Humanitarian Staging Area in Bangula (Nsanje) and the Department’s warehouse in Blantyre, the country’s commercial city in the south.
The Ministry of Health said following the forecasts and advisories from the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services on Tropical Cyclone Freddy, it has pre-positioned essential medical supplies and other logistics in all health facilities in the affected districts.
A statement released Sunday signed by Secretary for Health, Charles Mwansambo, said the ministry has also established emergency medical/treatment centers and deployed advance medical emergency team to the southern region.
The country’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned that “persistent torrential rains with possible damaging winds, high possibility of heavy flash floods and chilly weather conditions over southern and parts of central areas” should be expected Monday to Tuesday due to the influence of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
As of Sunday evening, reports of damaged roads, flash floods, and landslides were reported in some districts in the south. Schools in the affected districts have since been suspended on Monday and Tuesday and people have been advised to stay indoors until the Cyclone subsides.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has declared a state of emergency in the 10 affected districts that include Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre, Mulanje, Phalombe, Thyolo, Mwanza, Zomba, Chiradzulu and Neno.