Cyclone Freddy makes second landfall

13 Mar 2023 by The Water Diplomat

On the 13th of March, Reuters reported a death toll of 60 people in Mozambique and Malawi from cyclone Freddy, which returned to land after it had reached the coast of Madagascar on the 21st of February.  At least 6 casualties fell in the Mozambican coastal town of Quelimane, while in Malawi casualties were reported in the townships of Chilobwe and Ndirande in Blantyre, Malawi’s second city.  The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had warned that cyclone Freddy was expected to make landfall near Quelimane in Mozambique’s Zambezia province and warned for flooding in Zambezia and Nampula provinces. The town of Quelimane went into lockdown in advance of the storm.

Last month, more than 171,000 people were affected by the storm following its first landfall, when 27 people were reported to have been killed in Madagascar and Mozambique.  In Mozambique, the provinces of Sofala, Gaza and Inhambane were recovering after they had experienced flooding following Freddy’s first landfall. In Madagascar, Freddy made landfall near Manajary, which has already been affected by cyclones Batsirai and Emnati in February 2022 and cyclone Cheneso in January 2023.  

Cyclone Freddy is now the most energetic cyclone on record, as well as the longest-lived tropical cyclone ever recorded. The storm developed in western Australia and Indonesia on the 6th of February and has travelled 8,800 km in a westerly direction. It attained category 5 hurricane strength twice over the Indian Ocean and has so far lasted for 35 days. The storm which held the previous record for longevity was Hurricane John, a Pacific storm which lasted 31 days in 1994