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20 people killed in Mozambique,Madagascar; thousands forced out of their homes

The destructive Cyclone Freddy has established records for the longest storm of its type. Moreover, Cyclone Feddy has killed more than 20 people and driven hundreds more from their homes in both Madagascar and neighboring Mozambique.

Freddy made landfall with sustained gusts of almost 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour), according to a statement from UNICEF, which "cut off children and families from crucial services" and caused severe damage. According to satellite data, the storm continued inland after passing the port city of Quelimane and was heading to Malawi's southernmost point.

Electricity had been restored to most places by mid-afternoon, according to the national power utility Electricidade de Moçambique, except Milange, Lugela, Maganja da Costa, Namanjavira, and portions of the city of Mocuba.

"The wind blew hard into the night... Trees have come down and roofs have been blown off, “ Guy Taylor, the UNICEF Mozambique country director for advocacy, media, and partnerships, told Reuters by satellite phone from Quelimane. 

Taylor added that there was still a chance for a calamity of great proportion and that more assistance will be required.

Authorities in Malawi were preparing for the cyclone to pass close to the southern tip of the landlocked nation by tonight, bringing with it severe rains and flooding, according to a statement from the department of meteorological resources and climate change.

On February 6, Freddy formed off the coast of northwest Australia. It then traveled hundreds of miles across the South Indian Ocean into southeast Africa, having an impact on the islands of Mauritius and La Réunion.

On February 21, the storm struck the eastern coast of Madagascar before slamming into Mozambique a few days later. It brought torrential rain, damaging winds, and flooding that left almost 2 million people without power and wrecked thousands of homes.

Feddy then turned back towards the Mozambique Channel, gaining strength from the warm waters, and sailed in the direction of Madagascar's southwest coast.

Guy Taylor stated that although the wind had subsided by Monday, there had still been significant flooding that had ruined crops and raised the possibility of waterborne illnesses.

In the last four weeks, Mozambique has received more rain than it does in a whole year.

The deadliest cholera outbreak in Malawi's history is currently being fought, and U.N. officials have issued warnings that things could grow worse.

According to scientists, climate change brought on by fossil fuels is intensifying tropical storms because oceans absorb heat from greenhouse gas emissions, and heat energy is released into the atmosphere as warm seawater evaporates.


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