Malawi’s President appeals for international aid amid Cyclone Freddy devastation
Cyclone Freddy impact
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has appealed for international assistance as the country deals with the deadly impact of Cyclone Freddy amid an already devastating cholera outbreak. According to reports on Tuesday morning, the Cyclone Freddy death toll in Mozambique and Malawi has surpassed 100. Sixteen people are still missing.
“State of disaster”
In a statement issued late on Monday, Chakwera declared a “state of disaster in the southern parts of Malawi” in terms of the country’s Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act. He said the government was already on the ground, responding to emergencies. However, more help is needed from aid agencies and global partners. “[The government] is appealing for local and international support for all the families affected by this disaster,” he added.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), aid agencies anticipated the destruction caused by Cyclone Freddy. In a statement, Malawi’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said strong winds would cause torrential rains which could, within 48 hours, cause 300mm to 400mm of rain. The ministry added that the threat of damaging winds and heavy flooding remained high, but that there was hope the situation would improve from Wednesday. The public was advised to move to higher ground to stay clear of mudslides.
Scotland’s climate fund
Malawi is one of the recipients of Scotland’s climate fund. About 25% of the R43.2 million was allocated to the country. The Scottish government’s funding is being used in Malawi’s Zomba district to repair portions of a 7km flood embankment on the Phalombe River that was broken during storms in 10 locations last year. Another disbursement in April will come in handy for Malawi.
Greater impact in Mozambique
The impact of the cyclone in Mozambique was greater than the impact in Malawi. Its initial landfall was in the coastal country more than a week ago. On Sunday, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGD) announced the compulsory evacuation of people in Sofala, Manica, and Zambezia provinces, which are flood-prone areas. The Emergency Operational Committee (Cenoe) estimated that there would be 200mm of rainfall per day until the cyclone dies down around Thursday.
Shipping activities banned
The media in Mozambique reported that schools were closed in areas such as Tete province in anticipation of the deadly impact of the cyclone. The destruction cut off communication with Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia province, and commerce was affected. The National Maritime Institute (Inamar) said in a statement that it had banned shipping activities in Sofala, Zambezia, and Nampula. The Beira port serves as the main port for Zimbabwe and Malawi. South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Zambia also use it.
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