Rescuers scramble to find survivors in cyclone-hit Malawi
Rescuers scrambled on Wednesday to reach survivors in Malawi’s battered city of Blantyre, after Cyclone Freddy struck southern Africa for a second time triggering floods and landslides that have killed more than 200 people.
Weather conditions were expected to improve as the storm dissipated over land after days of torrential rains, but flood levels remained high in some areas hampering emergency efforts.
“We found people in the trees, on rooftops or on higher grounds,” Red Cross Malawi spokesman Felix Washoni told AFP.
It’s a challenge to reach them, water is high and bridges are broken.”
Freddy returned to southeastern Africa at the weekend for a second time in less than three weeks, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction.
Malawi’s government said at least 190 people were killed with 584 injured and 37 missing, while authorities in neighbouring Mozambique reported 21 deaths and 24 injured.
Rescue workers warned more victims were to be expected as they scoured destroyed neighbourhoods for survivors even as hopes dwindled.
The government said the army and police were leading search and rescue operations, which the Red Cross said would continue for at least another two days.
Many people perished in mudslides that washed away homes in southern city of Blantyre, the country’s commercial capital.
Across Malawi, nearly 59,000 people have been affected and more than 19,000 displaced, with many now sheltering in schools and churches.