Police in Malawi have confirmed that at least 11 people have died and 16 others missing after tropical storm Freddy brought torrential rains that triggered floods and landslides around the country’s second-largest city Blantyre on Monday.
Freddy, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, is believed to also be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone”, with the previous record held by a 31-day hurricane in 1994, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
It pummelled Mozambique for the second time in a month as a cyclone over the weekend before weakening as it moved inland towards Malawi.
The full extent of the damage and loss of life in Mozambique is not yet clear, as the power supply and phone signals were cut off in the affected area.
Malawi police spokesman Peter Kalaya told Reuters that the number of people killed and missing because of Freddy was likely to grow as it had affected 10 districts and so far numbers were only in for Blantyre.
He said rescue teams were looking for people in Chilobwe and Ndirande, two of the worst affected townships in Blantyre, where it was still raining on Monday and most residents were without power.
“Some missing people are feared buried in rubble and our team is working with other cooperating national agencies,” Kalaya said.