Blantyre (Malawi), March 17 (AP) — Authorities are still grappling with the scale of damage caused by Cyclone Freddy since Saturday night in Malawi and Mozambique, with more than 370 deaths confirmed, Hundreds of people are missing and tens of thousands are displaced.
Authorities in Malawi said Friday that Freddy had killed at least 326 people and that 200 were still missing.
Hundreds of evacuation centers have been set up for survivors across the country.
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera declared 14 days of national mourning on Thursday.
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In Mozambique, authorities said at least 53 people had been killed since Saturday and another 50,000 remained displaced.
The death toll in both countries is expected to continue to climb.
Cyclone Freddy dissipated over land late Wednesday after making landfall in Mozambique and Malawi for the second time over the weekend, causing widespread damage in several areas, including Malawi’s financial center Blantyre.
“Many areas are inaccessible, limiting the movement of assessment and humanitarian teams and life-saving supplies,” said WFP Malawi Director Paul Turnbull.
“The true extent of the damage will only be revealed once the assessment is complete.”
Both countries were already facing cholera outbreaks before the hurricanes, and there were fears the flooding would exacerbate the spread of the waterborne disease.
Mozambique was still dealing with Freddie’s first beating and flooding earlier this year.
Human-caused climate change has intensified cyclone activity, making them wetter, more intense and more frequent, scientists say.
Cyclone Freddy has ravaged southern Africa since late February, when it hit Mozambique, Madagascar and Reunion Island.
After regaining strength in the Mozambique Channel, it returned to the mainland.
Freddy first formed near Australia in early February, and the World Meteorological Organization convened a panel of experts to determine whether it broke the record for the longest-lasting hurricane in recorded history. (Associated Press)
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