Cyclone Freddy tears through Malawi, killing over 200 people

By Everson Luhanga

A whole village in Malawi’s Chiladzulu district has been buried in sand.

It was once a place where children, the elderly and their livestock lived in peace and harmony. But there is nothing left that symbolises that people once lived here.

Many people have lost their lives. Livestock have been swept away, along with homes and infrastructure destroyed by raging waters in many villages across different districts in Malawi.

The month-long tropical Cyclone Freddy, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the southern hemisphere, has killed over 200 people in Malawi, but dozens are still missing.

As the waters ripped through homes, people’s screams for help can be heard in videos that have been posted on social media platforms.

Strong winds and waters are seen ripping off trees and houses. Bystanders look afraid and fear whether they will find their missing loved ones.


People who survived have nowhere to stay and nothing to eat. The country is on its knees seeking help for its people.

Malawi mainly depends on local farms for its food and source of income, but crops — even whole farms — have been swept away.

President Lazarus Chakwera has declared a state of disaster in the southern region of the country. It covers its commercial city of Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Mulanje Mwanza, Nsanje, Thyolo, and the country’s old capital city of Zomba districts.

Chakwera said the government is already responding to the emergencies, giving urgent assistance to all affected districts. He appealed for local and international support for all the families affected by this disaster.

On Wednesday 15 March Chakwera visited those areas. The president said he will remain in the southern region for the foreseeable future to lead government activities in response to the devastation caused by the cyclone.

The terrible weather did not cause havoc only in Malawi. Mozambique and Madagascar were also hard hit. There has been a loss of life and destruction of property and infrastructure in both countries.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has offered condolences to the governments and citizens of Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar which have been affected by Cyclone Freddy. 

Pictured above: Cyclone Freddy in Malawi

Image source: Greenpeace

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