Zimbabwe to help Malawi as Tropical Cyclone Freddy death toll rise to 522.

– To widen the scope of donations to Malawi, the Government is encouraging the private sector, national institutions and citizens to donate.

John Cassim

HARARE, Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean government on Tuesday announced it will help Malawi, as officials in the region report that Tropical Cyclone Freddy has claimed 522 lives.

This follows a deliberation on the matter during a Cabinet meeting in Harare, by the President Emmerson Mnangagwa led government.

“Cabinet has directed that the mobilization of relief assistance should commence immediately and include 10 000 metric tonnes of mealie meal; cooking oil; blankets;  clothing; construction material for cabins; sanitisers, detergents, bath soaps, stationery and other learning materials,” Cabinet announced during a post cabinet media briefing, Tuesday evening.

“To widen the scope of donations to Malawi, the Government is encouraging the private sector, national institutions and citizens to donate generously to this worthy cause,” Cabinet appealed.

The announcement came as a response to the appeal for assistance by Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera to his fellow SADC Heads of State and Government, a few days ago.

Already the Malawian President has declared a State of Disaster and proclaimed 14 days of mourning.  

The Zimbabwean government has revealed that a Disaster Relief Committee has been constituted to draw up a comprehensive assistance package for disaster-stricken Malawi. 

The Committee’s mandate is to liaise with the Government of Malawi on modalities for conveying the relief package, according to the Cabinet statement.

According to officials in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique, the death toll caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy has now reached 522.

The Department of Disaster Management (DoDMA) says 438 people have died in Malawi, and nearly half a million people have been affected and displaced.

In Mozambique, at least 67 people died, according to President Filipe Nyusi, with 50,000 more having been displaced.

At least 17 people were killed in the island nation of Madagascar by Tropical Cyclone Freddy which broke the record and lasted 37 days.

Freddy first made landfall on February 21 in Madagascar and proceeded to Mozambique and then swirled back to the Indian Ocean. 

On March 11, it made landfall in Mozambique for the second time and then moved on to Malawi.

When Freddy hit, both Malawi and Mozambique were already facing a cholera outbreak after yet another cyclone in 2022.

Malawi was the worst affected by the diarrheal disease outbreak and there are fresh fears that the flooding could worsen the spread of water-borne diseases.

Scientists say human-caused climate change has worsened cyclone activity, making them wetter, more intense and more frequent.

Southern Africa is currently in cyclone season, which can bring rain and severe storms until April but scientists claim that human caused climate change has worsened cyclone activities making them more frequent and intense.

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