Geneva [Switzerland]: Tropical Cyclone Freddy has affected over 500,000 people in Southeastern Africa’s Malawi, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Friday as the devastation continues to rise.
In the statement, OCHA said the cyclone has affected over 500,000 people, including at least 326 killed and more than 180,000 displaced. As flood waters begin to subside, government-led relief efforts are expanding and focusing on reaching displaced people.
Chikwawa, a town in Malawi, is one of the districts with the highest number of displaced people, the World Food Programme and its partners have distributed super cereal, a blend of corn and soy, to all displacement sites and similar efforts are underway in other districts.
However, some areas remain cut off due to the extremely challenging conditions on the ground. Aid workers are mobilising air transport and boats to transport supplies and for search and rescue efforts in locations that can’t be accessed by road.
“Humanitarian partners are concerned by the risk of cholera spreading in flood-affected areas, especially in crowded displacement sites. UNICEF and its partners are working to clean latrines in schools serving as shelters in Blantyre and will also install water storage bladders to provide safe drinking water,” the statement read.
“In Mozambique, the number of affected people by Freddy’s second landfall also continues to rise, reaching 340,000. In total with the cumulative impact of the floods and the two landfalls, more than 510,000 people have been affected across the country,” the statement added.
The United Nations assured that their team is present in each affected province and is working closely with the authorities to provide aid to over 49,000 people displaced and to access areas isolated by floods.
The UN also stated that “Cholera” is also spreading, and there are not enough water disinfection supplies to support containment activities to control the outbreak.
“Yesterday’s allocation of USD 10 million by the Central Emergency Response Fund will help address some of the gaps in the response to cholera, floods and cyclone Freddy. However, more funding is urgently needed to contain the cholera outbreak and to sustain relief operations,” the statement read.
“Humanitarian partners are finalizing a flash appeal – as an addition to this year’s overall appeal – to address the most urgent humanitarian needs resulting from the convergence of Freddy, floods and cholera,” the statement added.
On Tuesday, the Malawi Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said the cyclone was “weakening but will continue to cause torrential rains associated with windy conditions in most parts of Southern Malawi districts”.
“The threat of heavy flooding and damaging winds remains very high,” the weather report said.