Cyclone Freddy

The tropical cyclone Freddy, which has remade landfall over Mozambique, has cut off communication and access to the capital of Zambezia, Quelimane. On Sunday there was no telecommunications for a period of over 24 hours as the city was battered by heavy rainfall, making it impossible for people to use normal communication channels. The cyclone also severely affected the electricity supply in the city, making it impossible for people to even withdraw cash from the atms to buy supplies. A Radio Mozambique reporter says “It’s very difficult to calculate the losses caused by the cyclone. In Quelimane, there is no communication. right now, we’re in Nicoadala district, but along the Quelimane-Nicoadala road there’s a lot of destruction, houses blown down, electricity pylons knocked over, social facilities such as schools facing serious problems.” the bishop of Quelimane, Dom Hilario de Cruz Massinga, OFM, gave a report on what has happened in his diocese. “Around 100 000 people need support, of which more than 5 000 are in Temporary Accommodation Centers. Due to the continuation of rains, winds and high tides, the number could double in the next few hours. several public and private institutions were left without a roof including the Provincial Hospital of Quelimane (with several wards flooded and with water infiltration on the walls and ceiling, patients with wet sheets and beds including the pediatrics, intensive care, surgery and the fistula wards; the roof of the Provincial Directorate of Health destroyed, CMCQ building, many houses destroyed, washed away, flooded and without roofs or walls [including the localities of] Icidua, Manhawa, Minkajuine, Sangarivera, Cololo, Primeiro de Maio, Inhangome, Mirazane, and Bazar, amongst others. five people so far have lost their lives due to infrastructure collapse of houses, buildings and roads. there have been dozens of injuries. there is extensive damage to infrastructure, including to some schools like Patrice Lumumba Secondary School, Primeiro de Maio Industrial School, Coalane Secondary School, Papa Francisco School, Inilicungo, Gogone Primary School which are without roofs. there are also a number of religious institutions without windows or roofs, such as the Church of Santos Anjos de Coalane, the Sagrada Familia church, the roof of the episcopal residence and others. Jacinto Nyussi Secondary, Pavilhão do Banco de Moçambique, Polytechnic University, many unpassable roads and bridges, fallen trees, electricity, telecommunications and fiber optic poles, public lighting lamps, and fallen traffic lights, missing boats carried by the force of the waves onto the pier bridge etc., damaged market roofs, roofless stores and various wet goods. Several accommodation centers were created in several schools including Quelimane primary, Filipe Nyussi, Eduardo Mondlane, Coalane secondary, and temporary accommodation in several churches. The city of Quelimane is isolated by sea and air (airport closed and flights banned and canceled since Friday) and with all mobile phone networks disconnected for more than 24 hours.”

Cyclone Freddy has also caused massive damage in Mozambique’s neighbor, Malawi. More than 60 bodies have been recovered just in Blantyre after the storm hit the city for the second time this month. A police spokesperson for BBC Kalaya said “We have rivers collapsing, we have people being carried away by running waters, we have buildings collapsing,” he says. The relentless rains lashing them have made emergency assistance near impossible. people are being admitted to hospital with injuries caused by falling trees, debris, landslides, and even flash floods in places, says Doctors without Borders country director Marion Pecharyre “A lot of homes are mud houses with tin roofs, so the roofs fall on people’s heads”.

The death toll for the cyclone stands at more than 200, over 600 injured and over 40 missing in Malawi. Over 60 000 people have been affected, with more than 20 000 displaced by the raging waters. In Mozambique, those figures stand at more than 50 dead, more than 20 injured, and more than 200 being displaced. Thousands of buildings and structures have been affected across all three countries, with Madagascar losing at least 20 people to the storm.

Cyclone Freddy, a category 5 storm, has broken records for its strength and its behavior, being called the longest lasting cyclone in recorded history. As the worsening effects of climate change become tangible to areas that already were susceptible to rapid changes in weather. the storm has hit for the second time in one month-it began as a cyclone that landed on Madagascar, then travelled over the Mozambique channel and made landfall in Vilankulos, causing massive rainfall in that as well as surrounding areas, reaching as far as Malawi. It then retreated back into the channel, but surprisingly build up strength again, heading towards Madagascar, before reversing its trajectory once again towards Mozambique, this time making landfall on Quelimane, and again showering large areas surrounding Zambezia with massive rainfall, including up to Malawi again, causing as yet uncalculated damage both times in all three countries.


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