BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Authorities are still getting to grips with the scale of Cyclone Freddy's destruction in Malawi and Mozambique since late Saturday, with over 370 people confirmed dead, several hundred still missing and tens of thousands displaced.
On Friday, Malawi authorities said Freddy killed at least 326 people, with 200 still missing. There are hundreds of evacuation centers set up across the country for survivors. Malawi’s president, Lazarus Chakwera, declared a 14-day national mourning period on Thursday.
In Mozambique, authorities said at least 53 were killed since Saturday, with 50,000 more still displaced. It’s expected that the death toll in both nations will continue to climb.
Cyclone Freddy dissipated over land late Wednesday after it made a second landfall in Mozambique and then Malawi over the weekend and caused mass devastation in several regions, including Malawi's financial capital, Blantyre.
“A lot of areas are inaccessible, restricting movement of assessment and humanitarian teams and life-saving supplies,” said Paul Turnbull, the World Food Program’s director in Malawi. “The true extent of the damage will only be revealed once assessments have been concluded."
Both nations were already facing a cholera outbreak before the cyclone hit and there are fears that the flooding could worsen the spread of water-borne diseases. Mozambique was also dealing with Freddy's first battering and floods earlier in the year.
Cyclone Freddy has ravaged southern Africa since late February, when it pummeled Mozambique, Madagascar and Réunion. It then looped back onto the mainland after regaining strength over the Mozambique Channel.