Malawi has declared a state of disaster due to Cyclone Freddy, which has killed at least 219 people in Malawi and Mozambique and displaced 11,000 since Saturday night.
The disaster declaration is part of an appeal for national and international assistance to victims of the hurricane. In the meantime, many organizations have started to follow the call.
Marion Pechayre, MSF’s operations director in Malawi, told VOA that her organization had deployed medical personnel to help with cyclone victims.
“We are supporting the ministry of health in one of the biggest hospitals in the country, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, to triage and treat the patients at the emergency department because they have mass casualties brought to the hospital,” she said.
Survivors of destroyed homes in the southern regions say they need essentials.
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“The first thing is food,” said Daniel Chilonda, one of the victims in the affected town of Chilobwe in Blantyre. “We also need plastic sheeting to protect our shelters from the rain. Even where there is a lack of clean water, soap and blankets.”
The Malawian government said it was making efforts to help the victims.
Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe told a news conference in Blantyre on Tuesday that the government was considering reviewing its 2023 and 2024 budgets to help cyclone victims.
“Last week we presented a budget and I know MPs will meet again on Monday to start the discussion,” he said. “I’ll be appealing to lawmakers to reconsider our numbers because we may need to refocus on some priorities because of the scale of the devastation we’ve seen here is beyond words.”
Hurricane Freddy is one of the strongest and longest-lasting storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.
It arrived in Mozambique over the weekend, displacing more than 20,000 people. Forecasters in Malawi say the cyclone is slowly moving towards Mozambique.