Cyclone Freddy hit central Mozambique on Sunday after making landfall for the second time in a monthbreaking records for duration and strength of tropical storms in the southern hemisphere.
Communications and power supplies in the area of the storm were cut off, so the extent of the damage and the number of casualties were unclear.
More than 171,000 people have been affected after the cyclone swept through southern Mozambique last month, killing 27 people in Mozambique and Madagascar. More than half a million people are likely to be affected in Mozambique this time, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
UNICEF said in a statement that Freddy made landfall with sustained winds of nearly 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour), causing “severe damage and cutting off children and families from essential services”. After passing through the port town of Quelimane, the storm continued inland towards the southern tip of neighboring Malawi, satellite data showed.
However, the national electricity company Electricidade de Moçambique said that by mid-afternoon power had been restored to most areas, with the exception of Milange, Lugela, Maganja da Costa, Namanjavira and parts of the city of Mocuba.
“The wind was very strong overnight… There’s a lot of destruction, trees have fallen, roofs have been ripped off,” said Guy Taylor, UNICEF Mozambique Advocacy, Communications and Partnerships Officer. , by satellite phone from Quelimane. He had no word yet on casualties or the number of displaced.
“It’s potentially a large-scale disaster, and additional support will be needed,” Taylor said, adding that heavy rains were still falling.
In Malawi, authorities were preparing for the cyclone to pass near the southern tip of the landlocked country in the evening, bringing torrential rains and flooding, the meteorological resources and climate change department said in a statement.
freddy developed on February 6 off the northwest coast of Australia, before traveling thousands of miles across the southern Indian Ocean to southeast Africa, affecting Mauritius and Reunion along the way .
The storm hit the east coast of Madagascar on February 21 before rolling into Mozambique a few days later, bringing torrential rains, damaging winds and flooding that destroyed homes and affected nearly 2 million people.
It then looped back towards the Mozambique Channel, drawing its energy from the warm waters, and headed towards the southwest coast of Madagascar.