Zimbabwe: Freddy Brings Strong Winds

Strong southerly winds continue to flow across Zimbabwe from the outer arms of Tropical Storm Freddy, which is already affecting northern Mozambique and the country has so far not recorded any deaths or injuries since these arms hit some of its parts from Saturday.

The winds are expected to continue until tomorrow morning.

Strong winds, light rains and cloudy conditions were experienced from Saturday in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South, southern areas of Midlands and Mashonaland East provinces.

Harare had light showers yesterday evening.

Department of Civil Protection acting director, Mr Nathan Nkomo, said although there had been no injuries, deaths or damages to property so far, his units remained high alert to respond to any eventuality.

“We have mobilised resources for response and preparedness for 38 districts which are likely to be affected,” he said.

“Poorly maintained infrastructure may be affected by strong winds but so far, no incidences have been reported.”

Reuters reported that Cyclone Freddy displaced hundreds of people as it battered central Mozambique yesterday after making landfall for a second time in a month, breaking records for the duration and strength of tropical storms in the southern hemisphere.

Communications and electricity supply in the storm area in Mozambique have been cut, so the extent of the damage and number of casualties were not clear.

At least one person was killed in Quelimane province on Saturday when his house collapsed as the storm swept onshore. More than 171 000 people were affected after the cyclone swept through southern Mozambique after making the first landfall last month, killing 27 people in Mozambique and Madagascar.

More than half a million are at risk of being affected in Mozambique this time, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

More than 650 houses were destroyed in Marromeu district, it said, while in Sofala province more than 3 000 people were affected by flooding.

After passing the port town of Quelimane, the storm was continuing inland towards the southern tip of neighbouring Malawi, satellite data showed.

In Malawi, authorities were bracing for the cyclone to pass near the southern tip of the landlocked country by evening, bringing torrential rains and flooding, the department of meteorological resources and climate change said in a statement.

A Zoom Earth satellite map laying out the cyclone’s probable path forecast it would fizzle out near the Malawi border as it moves further inland at around 2am on Tuesday.

Freddy arrived in the Mozambique Channel on February 22 after passing over Madagascar on its long journey from near Australia, and remained in the channel for two days, before making landfall on the Mozambique coast around Maxixe, about 400km from the south eastern border of Zimbabwe, before moving inland.

The tropical storm then retraced its path back to the Mozambican Channel, but made a U-turn just near Madagascar after gaining some strength and made a second landfall in Mozambique on Saturday.


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