Cyclone Freddy death toll rises to 676 in in Malawi
The death toll from Cyclone Freddy in Malawi has risen to 676, with more than 1,400 people injured, according to figures released Wednesday, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
About 500,000 residents have been displaced and are living in camps with the government and aid agencies providing shelter and food.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs Commissioner Charles Kalemba said the chances of finding alive anyone who is missing are slim.
“There are about 537 people still missing. They would not be alive by now considering that it’s now about 17 days since they went missing,” he said.
Kalemba said police and the Malawi Defence Force search and rescue teams armed with sniffer dogs and earthmoving equipment are continuing to retrieve bodies.
Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu told Anadolu that an assessment of the disaster shows that dozens of bridges and roads had been washed away, making it difficult to provide desperately needed aid.
He said about 405 kilometers (252 miles) of road infrastructure has been affected.
About 63 health facilities have been damaged and 944,784 water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities have been destroyed.
“The devastation is huge and we now face a huge risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases in the camps because of congestion and poor sanitation,” said Kunkuyu.
He said the storm damaged electricity lines and many areas are currently without power.
Kunkuyu also noted that at least 500 schools were damaged by the storm and schools have re-opened in just four districts after they were suspended early this month.
Freddy struck Mozambique and Malawi earlier in March for the second time in a month, destroying scores of homes and triggering widespread floods.
Seventy-six deaths were recorded in neighboring Mozambique, where more than 33,000 houses were destroyed.