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One dead as Cyclone Freddy lashes Mozambique for second time


After 34 days of drifting in the southern Indian Ocean, Freddy is on track to become the longest-lasting cyclone on record.

Cyclone Freddy has hit Mozambique for the second time in two weeks, killing at least one person, tearing roofs off houses and sealing off a port city, a resident and local media said.

Freddy, on track to become the longest-lasting cyclone on record, began making landfall at 10 p.m. local time (8 p.m. GMT) on Saturday, satellite data showed, after lashing the South African coast with rain for hours.

It was the second time the cyclone hit Mozambique since the cyclone was named near Indonesia on Feb. 6. At least 27 people died the last time the storm ravaged the region.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Freddy made landfall in Mozambique in the Quelimane district of central Zambezia province as a tropical cyclone.

It said there was a high risk of flooding in Zambezia and neighboring Nampula province. Water levels in several watersheds were already above alert levels, it added.

State broadcaster TVM said one person died when his house collapsed and that the electricity company had completely cut off electricity as a precaution. All flights were suspended, it added.

Vania Massingue, a resident of Quelimane, said the port city was closed before the storm made landfall.

“The city is a no-go zone; no shops or businesses open. Everything is closed. We are locked up,” she told Reuters news agency. “I see houses with torn roofs, broken windows and flooded streets. It’s really scary.”

According to the World Meteorological Organization, Freddy, which has drifted in the southern Indian Ocean for about 34 days, will become the longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record. The previous record was held by a 31-day hurricane in 1994.

Satellite imagery shows Tropical Cyclone Freddy approaching Madagascar in this undated satellite handout image obtained on February 20, 2023 (File: NASA Worldview/Handout via Reuters)

After forming off the coast of northwestern Australia in the first week of February, Freddy crossed the entire southern Indian Ocean and stormed Madagascar from 21 February before reaching Mozambique on 24 February.

More than 171,000 people were affected when the cyclone swept through southern Mozambique last month, bringing heavy rains and flooding that damaged crops and destroyed homes. OCHA has put the death toll at 27 so far – 10 in Mozambique and 17 in Madagascar.

Freddy then headed back to Madagascar before re-entering Mozambique, in what meteorologists have described as a “rare” loop trajectory.

This time, more than half a million people are at risk in Mozambique, particularly in the provinces of Zambezia, Tete, Sofala and Nampula.

Guy Taylor, a UNICEF spokesman, told the AFP news agency that the cyclone had caused “significant flooding” before landfall.

“We saw people with water in their houses, wading through knee-deep water. And that’s just with this first bit of rain,’ he said from Quelimane.

Taylor worried that renewed flooding could exacerbate a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 38 people and infected nearly 8,000 since September.

The disease, which causes diarrhea and vomiting, is contracted from a bacteria that is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water.

Freddy, which is also expected to affect northeastern Zimbabwe, southeastern Zambia and Malawi, has, according to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Around the world, climate change is causing hurricanes to become wetter, windier and stronger, scientists say.

Oceans absorb much of the heat from greenhouse gas emissions, and when warm seawater evaporates, the heat energy is transferred to the atmosphere, creating more destructive storms.


Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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