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Cyclone Freddy brings devastation to Malawi

17 March 2023

Storm Freddy Malawi

Malawi has begun 14 days of national mourning, after Cyclone Freddy ripped through its heart at the weekend, killing at least 225 people and injuring many more. 

Around five million people in the country have been affected by Freddy which struck the areas around and to the south of the commercial city Blantyre. 

Freddy is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere and could be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone, according to the World Meteorological Organization. 

SCIAF has been working with local partners to help Malawians living in poverty since 1985. 

Last year, the Scottish Government awarded funding of £500,000 for us to help communities in Malawi which were battered by Storm Ana, which hit in 2022. Working with local communities, our partners helped tackle the worst effects of climate change by building dykes and water channels. 

SCIAF Chief Executive Alistair Dutton said:

“We already know that Cyclone Freddy was even more deadly than Ana, bringing an unimaginable six months’ rain in just six days. 

“The good news from communities we’ve been working with is that some of the defences, including a dyke in the Zomba region did their job and withstood the ravages of Freddy. We still await news from villages further south in Nsanje where similar defences were built. 

“In the meantime, SCIAF has immediately released £10,000 to help with the relief efforts. 

“SCIAF’s partner Caritas Malawi has distributed relief items such as water containers, chlorination tablets to treat contaminated water sources, and cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery for people to eat. They are also working with the district level government, distributing the essential people need right now. 

“Demand has overwhelmed the agencies who are responding and Caritas Malawi urgently need basic food and cooking items.  These are available in the region, and can quickly be bought and delivered, so our initial contribution of £10,000 will immediately start that process. 

“Our prayers are with our partners and friends as they face the aftermath of this deadly storm.”