8 March 2023 - Mozambique

Mozambique: Fears mount as Cyclone Freddy expected to make second landfall leaving close to half a million children at risk

A school being used as hosting site/shelter when Cyclone Freddy first made landfall in Madagascar in February 2023

Photo credit: Raharijaona Bien-Aimé/ Save the Children. A school being used as hosting site/shelter when Cyclone Freddy first made landfall in Madagascar in February 2023

MAPUTO, 8 March 2023 – More than 900,000 people – including 450,000 children – are at risk, as powerful Cyclone Freddy is set to hit Mozambique a second time, with fears it will cause further misery and displacement for families already reeling from its initial impact, Save the Children warned. 

The severe tropical storm is expected to make landfall on Friday night as a Category 3 cyclone, with winds of around 160 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 190 km per hour, according to Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology.

Freddy is the first tropical cyclone in the southern hemisphere to intensify four times and is on track to becoming the longest-lived tropical cyclone in history after traversing the entire Indian Ocean for a month. 

Last month, Cyclone Freddy made landfall in the coastal town of Vilanculos, leaving 10 people dead and displacing more than 9,000 people. More than 68,000 children are still out of school and likely to be affected a second time.

Save the Children's Country Director in Mozambique, Brechtje van Lith, said:

“The return of Cyclone Freddy triggers fears that this will be a repeat of Cyclone Idai, which killed more than one thousand people in southern Africa in 2019. We are very worried about the impact of the cyclone and accompanying rains, in particular on the communities that have not yet recovered from when it first made landfall last month. Schools were destroyed in Inhambane province and farming communities lost their crops as a result of flooding in Gaza province. Some places across Sofala and Zambézia provinces have already had a month’s worth of rain in a few days.

“We are deeply concerned that further floods and storms will exacerbate the ongoing cholera outbreak in Mozambique, which has killed 43 people in recent months. There are also fears that Cyclone Freddy will lead to floods and storms in the conflict-affected areas in the northern provinces, adding further suffering to the displaced people who are living in tents and make-shift accommodation that does not resist  extreme weather conditions.”  

Save the Children has been working in Mozambique since 1986 and is one of the leading development and humanitarian agencies in the country. In 2022 Save the Children reached more than 2.5 million people in the country, including 1.5 million children through education, child protection services, health and nutrition, child rights governance, climate adaption projects and humanitarian responses.



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