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Cyclone Freddy devastates Malawi, killing 190 and counting



record-breaking cyclone tore through southern Malawi over the weekend, devastating the country and killing 190 people, with the death toll expected to rise.

Freddy, which is the second most energetic cyclone since 1980, is also a contender for longest-lasting cyclone in recorded history. The storm first made landfall in southern Africa on February 6 and made its second landfall 34 days later, on March 11. 

The death toll reached 220 total between Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique, with 190 of the fatalities in Malawi alone. The Malawi Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change released a statement on Tuesday advising residents that the storm is expected to continue bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall in the coming days. “The threat of heavy flooding and damaging winds remains very high,” the Ministry said.

The storm brought sustained winds of up to 110 miles per hour for up to 10 minutes at a time. It has knocked out power and internet access to much of the southern region of Malawi, along with downed bridges, trees, and flooded roadways. According to Reuters, it also broke the record for “most bouts of rapid intensification, defined as an increase in wind speed of 35 miles per hour in a period of 24 hours.”

A Malawi police officer told BBC, “We have rivers overflowing, we have people being carried away by running waters, we have buildings collapsing.” The Malawi government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as the death toll climbed and rains continued flooding the region. According to the government, over 20,000 people have been displaced by the storm so far.

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