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World Tour: Record-breaking cyclone in Mozambique


WORLD Radio - World Tour: Record-breaking cyclone in Mozambique

Plus: China’s Congress wraps up its annual meeting, protesters in Italy demand safer routes for immigration in response to recent smuggler shipwrecks, Lebanese currency hits a record low during the nation’s ongoing financial crisis, and Iraq bans the import and sale of alcohol

A man passes houses that are submerged in flood waters in Blantyre, Malawi Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour, with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Mozambique cyclone again — Today’s World Tour kicks off in Mozambique where a record-breaking cyclone made a second landfall.

AUDIO: [Tree felling]

Cyclone Freddy brought strong winds and heavy rainfall as it lashed the port city of Quelimane. The cyclone uprooted trees while roofing sheets littered the streets. Authorities say at least 17 people died. They expect the toll to rise.

AUDIO: [Rainfall]

In neighboring Malawi, the cyclone has killed nearly 200 people as it triggered landslides and destroyed mud homes.

Aubrey Singaenyama is the deputy police spokesman for the city of Blantyre.

SINGANYAMA: We are conveying the dead bodies whenever we find them to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital mortuary of which is currently now full.

Freddy pummeled Madagascar last month before slamming Mozambique. At least 21 people died in the two countries combined.

The United Nations weather agency says Freddy is on track to become the longest-lasting tropical cyclone in history after traversing the entire Indian Ocean for a month.

China Congress ends — Next, to China where the ruling Communist party wrapped up its annual meeting on Monday.

AUDIO: [Congress in session]

Nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress gathered in Beijing for the weeklong session. They reappointed Chinese President Xi Jinping to a third five-year term in an expected move and also selected a new administration for the next five years.

President Xi called for China’s reunification with the self-governed Taiwan.

XI: [Speaking Mandarin]

He says here that China needs to oppose external influence and pro-independence activities in Taiwan.

He also stressed the need for stronger national security as the Congress increased the defense budget by more than 7 percent.

Italy migrant protest — We head over to Italy.

AUDIO: [Protest]

Thousands of people marched through the streets of the Italian town of Cutro on Saturday.

Local mayors joined the protest to remember the shipwreck late last month that killed at least 74 migrants. Some protesters held up signs that read “Stop the slaughter at sea.”

Migrant crossings along the central Mediterranean Sea more than doubled in the first two months of this year.

Rossella Miccio is president of the humanitarian group EMERGENCY. She joined the Saturday march.

MICCIO: [Speaking Italian]

She says here that authorities need to face the issue with more legal migration routes and not only penalizing smugglers.

Over the weekend, the Italian Coast Guard rescued about 1,300 migrants from three different ships in distress.

Lebanon financial crisis — Next, to Lebanon.

AUDIO: [Money counting]

The country’s struggling currency hit a new low yesterday. The lira, also called a Lebanese pounds, traded at a record 100,000 to a U.S. dollar in the black market.

The crash comes as Lebanese banks resumed their strike over ongoing lawsuits. Some depositors sued the commercial banks after they started to restrict cash withdrawals.

AUDIO: [Traffic]

The Lebanese pound has faced a downward spiral since decades of mismanagement and corruption triggered a financial meltdown in 2019.

Many grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses now price their goods and services in dollars in an attempt to cope with the crisis.

Mohamaed Faour is an assistant professor of finance at the American University of Beirut:

FAOUR: As long as this current status quo persists all that we could see is continuous dollarization at an accelerated pace.

Three-quarters of Lebanon’s population of over 6 million people now lives in poverty.

Iraq liquor ban - We wrap up today in Iraq.

AUDIO: [Glass bottles]

Authorities there are enforcing a new law that bans the import and sale of alcohol.

The law was passed back in 2016, but only became official after it was published last month. Public consumption of alcohol is generally prohibited in the Muslim-majority country, but it is still available in liquor stores or licensed bars.

AUDIO: [Speaking Arabic]

Baghdad resident Abdullah Mohsen saying here that the law does not make sense, since Iraq still has people of diverse races and cultures.

Christian lawmakers appealed the law saying it ignores the rights and freedom of minorities.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

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