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Cyclone kills, injures hundreds in southeast Africa

Houses submerged in floodwaters in Blantyre, Malawi Associated Press/Photo by Thoko Chikondi

Cyclone kills, injures hundreds in southeast Africa

The remnants of Cyclone Freddy are battering Malawi and Mozambique after making landfall Saturday. At least 200 people have died, hundreds are injured, and thousands have been displaced. Heavy rains triggered floods and landslides. United Nations Secretary-General spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the most affected regions remain inaccessible. The UN meteorological center on the island of Reunion predicts the storm will move back out to sea on Wednesday.

What is historic about this storm? The cyclone formed on Feb. 6 and first made landfall in Madagascar. It then struck Mozambique, traveled back over Madagascar, and looped again toward the mainland. Freddy has generated the most accumulated cyclone energy of any storm in nearly 20 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At its strongest, Freddy was equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane. The storm is also on track to be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone in history.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Onize Ohikere’s report on Cyclone Idai, which devastated Mozambique in 2019.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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