Cyclone Freddy was probably the longest-lived tropical storm on record. The World Meteorological Organization has yet to confirm this, but it looks likely to do so. The cyclone was strong enough to be officially classified as a tropical system for at least 36 days. It wreaked havoc across large areas of southern Africa, with its worst effects felt in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique – which it hit not once, but twice.
Six months’ worth of rain fell in just six days across parts of Mozambique and Malawi.
State of emergency
In Malawi, a state of emergency was declared and a period of mourning after 499 people were killed, 427 were still missing as at 20 March 2023, and 114,637 households had been displaced – about 508,244 people. More than 840 people were also reported injured.
The cyclone was also devastating in Mozambique, where 165 people have died and it’s estimated that 886,467 people have been affected. Damage to infrastructure has been severe. Around 103,000 houses were destroyed, and about 25,000 more flooded. Health facilities, schools and water supply systems have been damaged or destroyed and more than 5,000 Kilometres of roads have been damaged or affected.