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The death toll from Cyclone Freddy in Malawi has risen to 326

BLANTYRE (MALAWI): The death toll in Malawi from Cyclone Freddy has risen to 326, the country’s president said Thursday, bringing the total death toll in southern Africa to more than 400 since February.

Rescuers dug up more bodies as the chances of finding survivors faded after the cyclone took a most unusual course by returning to lash mainland South Africa a second time.

“As of yesterday, the death toll from this disaster has risen from 225 to 326,” Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said in the devastated southern region near the Blantyre commercial hub.

“The number of displaced people has more than doubled to 183,159, as has the number of displaced households, which now stands at 40,702,” he added.

Chakwera renewed his appeal for global aid as rescuers Thursday continued to search for survivors of flooding and mudslides caused by torrential rains this week.

More than 300 shelters have been set up for survivors while the army and police have been deployed to deal with the crisis.

A two-week state of mourning and a state of emergency were declared in the country.

“The cyclone destroyed property, homes, crops and infrastructure, including bridges that cut off communities in dire need of assistance,” Chakwera said.

The cyclone first struck southern Africa in late February, hitting Madagascar and Mozambique but causing limited damage in landlocked Malawi.

The storm then moved back across the Indian Ocean, where it drew more strength from the warm waters before making a rare course reversal to strike land a second time.

The rain has eased since Wednesday, but Freddy is still on track to become one of the world’s longest-running tropical storms.

In Mozambique, the storm has killed at least 73 people and displaced tens of thousands in recent weeks, and killed another 17 people in Madagascar.

After his visit to the affected province of Zambezia, which borders Malawi, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi also asked for immediate aid to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure.

– ‘Overwhelming Stink’ –

Without sniffer dogs and armed only with shovels, rescuers in Malawi went on a relentless hunt for buried and decomposing bodies that lay among the rubble of destroyed homes.

Five bodies were recovered in Manje, a parish about 15 kilometers south of Blantyre, after locals said they spotted blisters forming under the muddy debris.

“The overpowering stench in the air is a clear sign that the bodies are rotting underneath,” said an elderly resident, Rose Phiri, as she watched the plane stroll through the rubble.

Meteorologists say the cyclone is exceptional in its duration and has characteristics consistent with climate change warnings.

“It was an incredibly long-lasting storm. We can see in today’s satellite imagery that it has dissipated over the past few days,” said Randall Cerveny of the World Meteorological Organization AFP.

Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology, said the warm ocean is “a key aspect contributing to the rapid intensification of cyclones”.

“Cyclone Freddy rapidly intensified seven times during its lifetime,” he said.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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