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ActionAid strengthens resilience as Cyclone Freddy death toll rises in Malawi

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ActionAid Malawi has disclosed that it is scaling up its interventions and working with local partners in the affected districts to urgently assess the situation, provide vital assistance to the worst affected survivors and support rescue efforts.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy has made landfall for a second time this week in East Africa, raging through Malawi and causing gusty winds, heavy rainfall, mudslides and increased flooding. The death toll in Malawi stands at 225 but this is expected to increase.

Cyclone Freddy has affected over 83, 000 people in Malawi, including displacing thousands of people from their homes., 707 are injured and many more are missing. The devasting impact of the cyclone has left many people in dire need of humanitarian aid.

Speaking to Nthanda Times on Friday, Maria, who was displaced by the storm in Kampira village said: “I have lost all my property. We are in urgent need of food, shelter, and clothing.”

Esther, another displaced person and survivor from Nyang’a Village said: “My property and belongings have been washed away. As a result, I am currently displaced.”

ActionAid Malawi Country Director Pamela Kuwali said the country is reeling from the impact of Cyclone Freddy.

Kuwali: the country is reeling from cyclone Freddy

“This is a community which was already under huge pressure before the cyclone hit, with a fifth of people in the country facing food insecurity, over 70 per cent of people living below the poverty line and the deadliest outbreak of cholera experienced by Malawi underway. Our priority now is to support partners working in the districts affected to undergo a rapid needs assessment to understand the scale of the damage. We are also involved with rescue efforts to find people who are missing,” said Kuwali.

The World Meteorological Organization continues to assess whether Cyclone Freddy is the longest-running tropical cyclone in history. According to reports by World Health Organization (WHO) extreme weather conditions and climate events directly affected over half a million people in 2021 and increases the vulnerability of women and girls.

Calling on governments to make loss and damage funding a reality for groups with increased vulnerabilities, Teresa Anderson, Global Lead for Climate Justice at ActionAid International, said: “The reality is that climate change is bringing ever more intense cyclones, floods, and storms. In Africa, the cyclone season has the potential to be deadly.

“Women, children and girls, are hit hardest by climate disasters. During the COP27 climate summit last year, wealthy states in the Global North pledged to set up a loss and damage fund so that countries can rebuild at the aftermath of severe weather events, such as Cyclone Freddy. Governments must act now to make this fund a reality and deliver for those on the frontline of climate chaos who can’t wait any longer.”

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