Tropical Cyclone Freddy: Fast Facts

For more than a month, Tropical Cyclone Freddy has devastated southeast Africa and deepened concerns about the cholera outbreak affecting the region. Here’s what you need to know about this crisis and how you can help.


1. Cyclone Freddy is the longest-lasting tropical cyclone in recorded history.

Cyclone Feddy began off the northwest coast of Australia and followed an unusual path over the southern Indian Ocean, traveling almost 5,000 miles to make landfall in Madagascar and Mozambique on Feb. 21. The storm looped out over the water, regaining strength over the Mozambique Channel before hitting Mozambique again, two weeks after the initial landfall on March 11. The storm moved further inland to Malawi, causing devastation before finally dissipating last Wednesday.

As the climate crisis warms the world’s oceans, energy from the water’s surface is making storms stronger. Freddy is a record-breaking cyclone in terms of its energy and length.
Source: Al Jazeera + World Economic Forum + Reuters + The Washington Post

Help storm survivors by donating to GlobalGiving’s Tropical Cyclone Freddy Relief Fund.


2. The death toll is expected to rise.

In Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi, the death toll has exceeded 500 people. More than 900 people are injured, and 349 are still missing after the storm. Malawi was the hardest hit. Authorities reported the country’s death toll surpassed 400, and the president declared a 14-day national mourning period last Thursday. At least 24 inches of rain, severe flooding, and landslides have left a trail of devastation, sweeping away roads and burying homes in mud. Power outages in Malawi have further complicated rescues. An estimated 1,300 people have been reached, with hundreds more still awaiting rescue.

Mozambique reported that the storm has killed more than 60 people and displaced more than 50,000. In Madagascar, which was hit by Cyclone Freddy and Cyclone Cheneso this year, at least 17 people were killed.
Source: Al Jazeera + The Guardian + OCHA + The Associated Press

3. Relief is trickling into areas cut off by the storm.

Many areas in the region remain inaccessible due to flooding and mudslides, restricting aid to impacted communities. Police transport and rescue services have been slow to take people from flooded islands to the mainland. There are only about 500 evacuation centers across Malawi to provide shelter to more than 400,000 people affected by Cyclone Freddy.
Source: Al Jazeera + The Guardian + Popular Science + OCHA

4. Flooding could worsen the deadly cholera outbreak in the region.

More than 68,000 cases of cholera have already been reported across 11 countries in eastern and southern Africa this year. Mozambique has been facing a cholera outbreak for six months. Since early February, the number of reported cases in the country have tripled to nearly 10,000. The risk of cholera is high in camps due to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. And the region’s cyclone season could continue to bring rain and severe storms, worsening conditions, until April.

Before Cyclone Freddy, Malawi was experiencing its deadliest cholera outbreak, with the disease claiming more than 1,660 lives. Now, the storm has destroyed farmland and produce. Combined with the annual lean season, when millions of Malawians are expected to be food insecure, the potential impacts of the cyclone could be dire for thousands of people.

Children are especially at risk, with an estimated quarter of a million children under the age of 5 expected to be acutely malnourished by the end of March and more than 62,000 expected to be severely malnourished. When a child is severely malnourished, they are 11 times more likely to die from cholera than a well-nourished child.
Source: The Guardian + UNICEF + OCHA

Help storm survivors by donating to GlobalGiving’s Tropical Cyclone Freddy Relief Fund.


5. GlobalGiving partners are already on the ground helping survivors access food, shelter, and other emergency services.

GlobalGiving’s Disaster Response Team is working with responding partners to meet the immediate needs of the survivors and first responders of Tropical Cyclone Freddy. In Malawi, the Chinseu Community Based Organization and a committee made up of various local groups is responding to days of nonstop rain and the resulting damage to homes, crops, and animals by providing essential items such as food, water, and blankets.

Once urgent needs are met, the GlobalGiving Tropical Cyclone Freddy Relief Fund will transition to support community-led, long-term recovery efforts as needed. Many partners in GlobalGiving’s network have experience responding to cyclones in the region, including Cyclone Idai, one of the most powerful storms to ever hit southern Africa.
Source: GlobalGiving Tropical Cyclone Freddy Relief Fund

6. Cash is the best way to help people in need during a natural disaster like Cyclone Freddy.

Why? Survivors’ needs vary greatly throughout the life cycle of recovery. Some will require financial support, medical care, and psychological assistance years later. You can learn more about the importance of cash donations in this infographic.
Source: GlobalGiving + USAID Center for International Disaster Information

Help communities hit hardest by Tropical Cyclone Freddy through GlobalGiving and fuel community-led recovery.


Featured Photo: A man stands outside his damaged home in Blantyre, Malawi, Monday, March 13, 2023 by AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi

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