Malawi’s president calls for immediate relief after Cyclone Freddy | Flooding news

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Lazarus Chakwera is calling for international help after Cyclone Freddy strikes twice, killing more than 300 people and displacing hundreds of thousands.

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has called on the international community to send urgent aid to the South African nation, which has been ravaged by storms that have killed more than 300 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

“We need immediate help,” he told Al Jazeera on Thursday from outside a camp in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital and one of the hardest-hit areas. “We need helicopters now [the storms have] cleaned up a bit so we can fly over some food and other gear.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy swept across the coast of southern Africa for a second time this weekend, wreaking havoc in Malawi and neighboring Mozambique. At least 326 deaths have been confirmed in Malawi, bringing the total number of fatalities in the region since February to more than 400.

Chakwera, who declared 14 days of mourning and pledged $1.5 million in aid, has now called for more aid as the country’s capacity to provide aid is limited.

“Climate change is real, and what we need to see is devastation,” the president said. “Thirteen months, three devastating cyclones. We try to do everything we can to survive [our] bootstraps.”

As climate change causes warmer oceans, heat energy from the surface of the water fuels stronger storms. Freddy broke the world record for most accumulated cyclone energy, a measure based on a storm’s wind force over its lifetime. Meteorologists say it could break two more records.

Chakwera said recovery from such a storm would not be possible without international aid. “What happens to us can happen to anyone, anywhere,” he said. “Let the world come in and help Malawi, because we cannot afford to go backwards instead of forwards in terms of all the amenities Malawians need.”

Rasmane Kabore, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Blantyre, said the most pressing problem was the lack of clean water, which could trigger a cholera outbreak like the aftermath of Cyclone Anna in the south of the country last year.

In his interview with Al Jazeera, Chakwera agreed and called for shelter, blankets and facilities that will help the people with water and sanitation because we don’t want another outbreak of waterborne diseases.”

Earlier on Thursday, Yusuf Nthenda, MP for Mulanje West, told Al Jazeera correspondent Fahmida Miller that the community had not yet received aid and that some of its constituents were without food.

In response, the president said his government had started delivering aid, but some communities were inaccessible because roads had been washed away by mudslides.

But “my goal and my desire is for everyone to be accountable,” he said.

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