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At least 99 people dead as Cyclone Freddy hits Malawi

According to Malawi's Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, at least 99 people were reported deceased on Monday after Cyclone Freddy struck the country's southern region. The majority of the fatalities occurred in Blantyre, Malawi's commercial hub. The government has declared a "state of emergency" in the southern region of Malawi. Over the weekend, tropical storm Freddy struck southern Africa for the second time in a month, wreaking havoc and killing more than 100 people as it made landfall in Mozambique and Malawi on Monday. According to a CNN article, Blantyre City has the greatest death toll with 85 fatalities with 134 people hospitalized. Since storm Freddy's initial impact last month, 136 people have died in Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar, making up the overall number of fatalities. President Lazarus Chakwera of Africa, expressed severe worry in a government news statement about the destruction that Cyclone Freddy is currently causing in most districts in Malawi's Southern region. "As a result, the government is already responding to emergencies, providing prompt help to all impacted districts, and appealing for local and international support for all the families affected by this calamity. Ten of the worst-affected districts will continue to have closed schools through Wednesday. Earlier on Monday, Malawi police spokesman Peter Kalaya indicated in a press briefing that the destruction wrought by the storm had submerged streets and prompted outages in the worst affected areas and rescue attempts had been "difficult". "The rain is still pouring down heavily. Currently, there are landslides, flash floods, and stones sliding down hills. Rescue operations are difficult due to the weather and some of the locations we must visit to rescue individuals are difficult to reach. Although difficult, we are making sure to complete the task at hand,” Chakwera stated. The World Meteorological Organization describes Freddy as one of the fiercest storms ever observed in the southern hemisphere and speculates that it may be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone ever. After its second landfall in a month, Cyclone Freddy pounded central Mozambique on Sunday, shattering records for the duration and power of tropical storms in the southern hemisphere. The extent of the damage and the number of casualties remained unclear due to the cutoff of communications and electricity in the storm area.

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