THE death toll after Tropical Cyclone Freddy in Malawi stands at 676.
At least 533 people are missing.
According to a draft assessment report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), some 2,3 million people have been affected, over 1,6 million severely food insecure and over 650 000 displaced.
The highest reported impact was in the agriculture sector, where more than 2,26 million people (51 percent women) lost their crops and livestock as 179 223 hectares of land were destroyed.
The second highest recorded impact was food security with 1,3 million people being acutely food insecure.
Regarding shelter, about 883 000 households had their houses either partially or completely damaged.
This week, United Nations (UN) experts expressed solidarity with the people of Malawi in the wake of devastating Freddy.
“We extend our heartfelt support and solidarity to the hundreds of thousands affected by Freddy, the longest-lasting tropical cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere,” the experts jointly said.
They noted challenging weather conditions continue to hamper search and rescue operations in areas only accessible by air while other districts remain out of reach due to flooding and landslides.
The cyclone has severely impacted areas already suffering from a cholera outbreak and overwhelmed the already overstretched health sector.
UN experts said protecting the most vulnerable internally displaced persons in sites, ensuring timely and adequate access to food and health care, including by the provision of sexual and reproductive health care and protection services for women and girls, unaccompanied and separated children, , people with disabilities and older persons, is paramount.
The experts urged humanitarian, aid and development partners, business and financial institutions to step up efforts to support the government of Malawi to alleviate the impact on affected communities.
“Malawi needs to develop durable solutions to avert, minimise and address disaster displacement through climate adaptation measures, preparedness and disaster risk reduction,” they said.
The crisis in Malawi is a reminder how poor countries contribute little to the problem but face the worst impacts of climate change.
“We call on big emitter states, who are disproportionately responsible for the climate crisis, to make drastic cuts to their emissions, and scale up finance for adaptation and loss and damage,” UN experts said.
– CAJ News