Malawi – Death toll rises to almost 440 due to Cyclone Freddy

File – Stock image of flooding in Malawi – CONTACTO PHOTO

Cyclone Freddy has already left 438 dead, nearly 1,000 injured and 280 missing in its devastating passage through Malawi, where more than 345,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, according to the latest balance sheet provided Saturday by the Department for Disaster Management (DDMA, for its acronym in English) of the African country.

Floods, strong winds and landslides have displaced 79,602 families (approximately 345,183 people), now spread out in 505 camps set up to accommodate the displaced.

»The death toll has risen from 326 to 438; with 918 injured and 282 missing,» according to the statement, picked up by Malawi24.

The cyclone has caused enormous damage in 14 affected municipalities: Balaka, Blantyre and Blantyre capital, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo, Zomba and Zomba capital.

The United Nations is also watching the country, the resident coordinator, Rebecca Adda Dontoh, has appealed for help from the international community during her visit to the areas affected by the rains and floods.

The UN Secretary General’s spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, reiterated that they are currently working in 165 camps for displaced people, and in addition to collaborating in the rescue efforts – he said he has information of close to 200 people rescued with the help of his organization – they are sending assistance materials to the most affected areas, such as food, tents, blankets, water, sanitary and hygiene products.

Last Thursday, the President of the country, Lazarus Chakwera, declared fourteen days of national mourning for the dead, according to the Secretary of the Presidency, Colleen Zamba, who indicated that the mourning will be extended from this Thursday until March 29 «to honor the lives lost due to the cyclone».