The unusually long-lived cyclone "Freddy" has killed more than 460 people in southeastern Africa. In Malawi alone, "more than 500,000 people" were affected by the consequences of the storm, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) said on Friday. The "record-breaking weather conditions" hit Malawi at the end of the rainy season, "when the rivers and other waters already had high levels," it said.
The tropical storm brought more precipitation in southern Malawi in six days as usual in six months and left a trail of devastation in its wake. More than 183,000 people have been made homeless by floods and landslides, according to OCHA. More than 300 emergency shelters have been built.
Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera said during a visit to the disaster region that his government expects "the picture of destruction and death to become even worse" as soon as access to more areas becomes possible. The army and police continued to search for the dead on Friday.
The local director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Paul Turnbull, said the country would need "considerable support". Chakwera called for international help. The UN children's fund Unicef warned that the ongoing cholera outbreak in Malawi could be exacerbated by the consequences of the cyclone.
"Freddy" had already hit the region at the end of February, but initially caused only minor damage in Malawi. In a rare "loop" over the Indian Ocean, the cyclone returned with even greater force and even more rain.
A total of 463 people have been killed by "Freddy" so far: 360 in Malawi, 86 in Mozambique and 17 in Madagascar.