225 confirmed dead

The death toll from Hurricane Freddie rose Wednesday in Malawi to at least 225, according to a new toll, while rescue personnel continue operations to find survivors in the south of the country, the epicenter of the disaster.

Freddy hit South Africa at the end of February, killing 17 people, but in an unusual event, he returned to hit the same place in early March.

With less intense winds but heavy rains, Cyclone Freddy caused heavy flooding and landslides in Malawi, where a state of disaster was declared.

Police and army forces were deployed.

“The death toll has increased from 190 to 225, with 707 people injured and 41 missing,” the disaster management said in a statement.

More than 88,300 residents of this country, one of the poorest in the world, are now homeless. Schools and churches have been turned into shelters to receive the afflicted. 165 shelters have been opened.

“The floods are the biggest problem,” Felix Washon, a spokesman for the Malawi Red Cross told AFP. “The scale of the damage is huge.”

“Reaching the trapped people is challenging due to the destruction of bridges and the high water level,” he added. Rescuers found survivors on trees and rooftops.

About 12 health care facilities were destroyed, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health.-AFP

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