The United Nations confirmed that the deadly cyclone that attacked Malawi last week has displaced more than half a million people in the country.
Cyclone Freddy dumped six months’ worth of rainfall on southern Malawi in six days, with floods and mudslides sweeping away homes, roads and bridges in a record-breaking deluge.
According to the UN Agency data, the cyclone has left almost 500 people dead in the south of the country, while another 150 have died in its path in other southern African countries since the end of February.
“Nearly 508,250 people have been displaced and at least 499 killed” by the flooding in Malawi, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
“Heavy rains, strong winds, and floods attributed to the cyclone have had a devastating toll on the people across 14 districts — nearly half the country — with at least 1,300 people injured and 427 missing according to authorities.”
Search and rescue operations are ongoing, with over 1,000 people evacuated, and more than 500 emergency shelters have been opened, it said.
“Those affected are in dire need of urgent humanitarian support with the most immediate needs being shelter, food, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, health, and protection”, it added.
Cyclone Freddy first struck southern Africa in late February, hitting Madagascar and Mozambique, leaving Malawi unscathed.