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Mozambique/Malawi: Authorities must act to aid victims of record-breaking Storm Freddy

Tropical Cyclone Freddy has been one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere

‘[These countries] are facing the full force of storms intensifying due to global warming' - Tigere Chagutah

Responding to the devastation wrought by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in Mozambique and Malawi - with more than 100 people confirmed dead and the death toll continuing to rise - Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Interim East and Southern Africa Director, said:

“While we are still awaiting details on the full extent of the damage in countries that are currently being ravaged by Cyclone Freddy, it’s clear that the official death toll will continue to rise in Malawi and Mozambique, as will reports of wrecked infrastructure. Our thoughts go out to all the affected people.

“The Southern African Development Community and the international community must mobilise 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.

“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.”

Landslides, flooding and power outages

Cyclone Freddy, which strengthened into one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, struck central Mozambique on 11 March - 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 one of the longest-lasting tropical cyclones on record, having first made landfall in mid-February before moving on to cause widespread damage in Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique.

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