Weather officials in Mozambique are urging evacuations and bracing for heavy rain after Cyclone Freddy killed at least ten people there and scores more in neighboring Malawi.
The deputy director of Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology, Mussa Mustafa, told VOA Tuesday they’re appealing to people in risky areas to evacuate.
He said although Cyclone Freddy has weakened to a low-pressure system in neighboring Malawi, more rains are expected in Mozambique’s north and west in the next two days.
“We are still in the cyclone season, but until now there is no sign of a tropical cyclone formation. But the season is still active and will need to continue monitoring the Indian Ocean, including the side of Australia, because that is where tropical Cyclone Freddy was formed and it moved towards our region,” said Mustafa.
National public safety service spokesman Andre Tazimbua late Monday said the cyclone destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged clinics and roads.
Speaking at a press briefing broadcast on Radio Mozambique, he said rescue teams were in Zambezia province to help victims and search for survivors.
He said their main pursuit is to enter houses where there were probably fatal victims from blown off roofs or collapsed ceilings. Tazimbua said they also want to open access routes.
Mozambique’s Health Minister Armindo Tiago also spoke at the Monday night briefing.
He said they are preparing for potential outbreaks of water-borne disease.
He said what will happen is an increase in the level of flooding and floods, as in any rainy season, will increase the prevalence of diseases of water origin.
Cyclone Freddy has set a record for accumulated energy, intensifying seven times since first making landfall in February in Madagascar.
The cyclone hit Mozambique a second time on Saturday night and has devastated parts of Malawi, killed close to 100 people, and left thousands homeless.
Freddy appears to be the longest lasting such storm on record.
Meteorologist Mustafa said the record cyclone is more evidence of extreme weather caused by climate change.
“What is important is we need to research, to investigate in our country about what is the real impact of climate change. But this (Freddy) is the evidence that we have nowadays,” he said.
Mozambique in the past twenty years has been hit by seven high intensity tropical cyclones that left a trail of death and destruction.