Authorities in Mozambique and Malawi have been urged to mobilize resources to aid victims of record-breaking storm. Tropical Cyclone Freddy claimed more than 60 lives in Mozambique and Malawi and injured almost a hundred people after strengthening into one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.
It struck central Mozambique in Zambezia on March 11, destroying homes and causing widespread flooding. The storm also brought down telephone lines and power cables, leading to communication outages.
After hitting Mozambique, the cyclone then lashed Malawi with heavy rains, bringing landslides to rural areas and impacting Blantyre with serious flooding.
Freddy is arguably the longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record, having first made landfall in mid-February before afflicting Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique.
“While we are still awaiting details on the full extent of the damage in countries that are currently being ravaged by Cyclone Freddy, it is clear that the official death toll will rise in both Malawi and Mozambique, as will reports of wrecked infrastructure. Our thoughts go out to all the affected people,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Interim Director for East and Southern Africa.
Chagutah added, “The Southern African Development Community and the international community must mobilize the necessary resources to aid rescue efforts in the countries hardest hit by Cyclone Freddy. The focus must be on saving lives and providing relief in a manner that is compliant with human rights standards, for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
“The affected countries must also be compensated for loss and damage caused by the cyclone. Mozambique and Malawi are among the countries least responsible for climate change, yet they are facing the full force of storms that are intensifying due to global warming driven mostly by carbon emissions from the world’s richest nations.”