the cyclone freddy left hundreds of people homeless after passing, for the second time in a month, through central Mozambique, breaking records for duration and intensity among tropical storms in the Southern Hemisphere.
Communications and electricity supply were cut in Quelimane, but the extent of the damage and the number of victims are still unclear. At least one person died on Saturday after being buried indoors.
More than 171,000 people were affected after the cyclone hit southern Mozambique last month, killing 27 people in Mozambique and Madagascar. More than half a million Mozambicans are at risk of being affected this time, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Public television said hundreds of people were displaced. More than 650 houses were destroyed in Marromeu district and in Sofala province more than three thousand people were affected by the floods.
After passing through the port city of Quelimane, the storm moved inland towards southern Malawi, according to satellite images.
Electricidade de Moçambique said that by Sunday afternoon, electricity had been restored in most of the affected areas, with the exception of Milange, Lugela, Maganja da Costa, Namanjavira and parts of the city of Mocuba.
“The wind was very strong during the night (…) there is a lot of destruction, fallen trees, roofs flying”, said to Reuters the head of UNICEF, Guy Taylor, from Quelimane.
“It is potentially a major disaster and additional help will be needed,” Taylor said, adding that heavy rains continued to fall.
In Malawi, authorities were preparing for the passage of the cyclone in the southern region later in the day, bringing torrential rain and flooding, according to the meteorology department.
A satellite image map showing the cyclone’s likely path predicted it would weaken as it moves inland at around 2am on Tuesday. (midnight in mainland Portugal).