Cyclone Freddy death toll hits 447, over 362,000 displaced in Malawi

Lilongwe (Malawi), March 19 : The cumulative death toll from Cyclone Freddy in southern Malawi hit 447, while the number of displaced people reached 362,928. The country's Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) confirmed the figures in its sixth update on Saturday evening, revealing that 918 people have been injured and 282 are missing, Xinhua news agency reported. The Malawi Defence Force (MDF), the Malawi Police Service and rescue teams are continuing their operations. According to the DoDMA update, the MDF is also airlifting relief items, medical supplies and personnel to places not accessible by road. In his televised national address on Saturday evening after visiting two affected eastern districts of Zomba and Machinga, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said some foreign missions, governments, local and international organisations, companies and individuals have responded to his appeal for support after he declared a state of disaster in the affected districts and cities. He appealed for more humanitarian support, saying the situation in the camps and areas affected by the storm is dire. The country's Ministry of Education has extended the suspension of schools in the southern region until March 31, as about 230 schools have been turned into holding camps for internally displaced communities. Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi's southern districts hard from the night of Sunday through Tuesday, causing strong winds, floods and mudslides, and killing hundreds and displacing hundreds of thousands in its wake. /IANS


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