Tropical Cyclone Freddy formed in the Indian Ocean a month ago, initially hitting southern Africa in late February. In southern Africa, it left 463 dead, 360 of them in Malawi; in Mozambique, 86; and 7 on the island of Madagascar.
In Malawi, in the south of this country, the equivalent of six months of rain fell in a span of six days, causing flooding and landslides. President Lazarus Chakwer assured that “we expect the balance of damage and deaths to increase as new areas become accessible.”
One month after its formation, Tropical Cyclone Freddy may have broken the record for the longest duration on record. This was confirmed by a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
According to this agency, “no other tropical cyclone observed in this part of the world has traveled the Indian Ocean in the last two decades,” since the tropical cyclone traveled more than 4,970 miles and made landfall in Madagascar and Mozambique in Africa in late February.
However, two weeks later it fell back and reached Mozambique for the second time. Finally, she hit Malawi. “Freddy is the first cyclone this year where, at its strongest, it was equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with sustained winds in excess of 160 mph,” the agency added.
The agency also explained that no other tropical cyclone observed in this part of the world has crossed the Indian Ocean in the last two decades, in addition, it is one of only four systems that have crossed the south of this water current from east to west. The others were cyclones Litanne in 1994, Leon-Eline, and Hudah in 2000.
Freddy’s Deadly Impacts
The Associated Press has reported that over 200 individuals lost their lives due to flooding and mudslides caused by Cyclone Freddy in Malawi and Mozambique. The city of Blantyre in Malawi was hit particularly hard.
ReliefWeb stated that the final landfall of the cyclone brought a month’s worth of rain within 24 hours to certain areas of Mozambique, leading to an estimated 1,900 destroyed or damaged homes according to the country’s National Institute for Disaster Management.
Cyclone Freddy’s initial landfall in late February affected over 171,400 people in Mozambique, leading to the flooding or damage of more than 30,000 homes according to ReliefWeb.
In Madagascar, at least 17 people lost their lives due to Cyclone Freddy, both during the first landfall on February 21 and as a result of flooding while the cyclone was nearby on March 5-6. According to ReliefWeb, an estimated 299,000 people were impacted by the storm’s two encounters in the country.
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