Published: 2023-03-13 20:51
Last Updated: 2024-02-23 16:58
Fifteen people have died in Malawi and Mozambique as Cyclone Freddy hit the two countries with torrential rains and strong winds upon its return to southern Africa's mainland, authorities said Monday.
Police in Malawi said 11 people died in areas surrounding the southern city of Blantyre, where heavy rains triggered flooding as the cyclone made a comeback, just weeks after it first struck the continent.
At least 16 more people were missing and four injured, according to a preliminary count, police said.
Four more people died in neighboring Mozambique, local authorities said, as an assessment of the damage was underway after the storm made its second landfall in the country on Saturday.
Richard Duwa, 38, said his sister-in-law's family was swept away by flash floods in Chilobwe, a township south of Blantyre.
"We got a call from the neighbors at around five am to say that 'your relations have been washed away by the rains'," Duwa, a government clerk told AFP.
"Unfortunately, we have just recovered one body, a small boy, but the remaining four are not to be seen."
Earlier police said they found the body of a three-year-old girl after a water stream breached its banks washing away houses built along its course.
Malawi's government ordered schools in ten southern districts to remain closed until Wednesday, with rains and winds expected to continue to batter the nation's south.
National carrier Malawi Airlines said all flights to Blantyre have been canceled until further notice after an inbound plane ran into the bad weather mid-flight and was forced back to the capital Lilongwe.
"It was thought wise to return to Lilongwe," said Malawi Airlines spokesman Only Taulo.