The UN and partners are ramping up support to Malawi in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which killed 190 people this week and injured dozens more, prompting the Government to declare a state of disaster.
The storm – which has been raging since 6 February – made landfall for a second time on the African continent over the weekend, barreling into Malawi on Monday, and strong winds and torrential rains continue to cause extensive damage and loss of life in 10 districts.
“We are mobilizing additional teams, but difficult weather conditions have hampered rescue efforts,” said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, speaking in New York on Wednesday.
He added that at least 178 people have been rescued in the past two days, including with the support of boats from the World Food Programme (WFP).
Malawi is currently in the grip of a cholera outbreak – the worst in two decades – and the health sector is already overstretched.
The storm has created “an unprecedented crisis”, the UN Resident Coordinator in the country, Rebecca Adda-Dontoh, said on Tuesday.
“The United Nations commends the Government of Malawi for its leadership of preparedness and response measures and calls upon partners to step up efforts to assist people in the districts most affected by the cyclone,” she said in a statement.