Storm Freddy kills more than 100 as it slams southern Africa

Mozambique and Malawi on Monday were counting the cost of Tropical Storm Freddy, which killed more than 100 people, injured scores and left a trail of destruction as it ripped through southern Africa for the second time in a month over the weekend.

The central hospital in Blantyre had received at least 60 bodies by early afternoon, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) country director Marion Pechayre told Reuters by telephone, adding that some 200 injured were being treated in the hospital.

The injuries were from falling trees, landslides and flash floods, she said. “A lot of (houses) are mud houses with tin roofs, so the roofs fall on people’s heads.”

Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya told Reuters that rescue teams had been looking for people in Chilobwe and Ndirande, two of the worst-affected townships in Blantyre, the country’s second-largest city, where it was still raining on Monday and many residents were without power.

“Some missing people are feared buried in rubble,” Kalaya said.

Malawi’s national electricity company EGENCO said that power generation capacity was unstable and that it had experienced total system shutdown twice on Monday. It has shut down all major hydro power stations to protect them from damage, it said.

At least ten people died in Mozambique’s Zambezia province, a provincial delegate from the National Institute of Disaster Risk Management, Nelson Ludovico, said on public broadcaster Radio Mozambique, adding that the figures were still provisional.

“The situation is critical in Zambezia province. We can’t advance with an accurate picture of the scale of damage because there’s no communications with all the regions,” Health Minister Armindo Tiago said on public radio.

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