Cyclone Freddy: Malawi's President begs for international help

Cyclone Freddy

It was still drizzling, the air gloomy and grey with fog in Blantyre as families, friends and other grief stricken Malawians on Wednesday paid their last respects to those abruptly taken from them by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

Led by President Lazarus Chakwera, they filed past over a dozen coffins (precisely 21)- a scene so uncommon, it left many shedding tears.

With the unprecedented magnitude of the devastation; visiting some of the affected, coupled with the reports he's probably been getting left Chakwera with the impression that this was not a tragedy Malawians could shoulder alone.

"Malawi is in a state of disaster. What cyclone Freddy has done, is to pull us back even when we were trying to rebuild, because of past tragedies.

Chakwera: Help us

"And I appeal to the international community to please look at us with such favour. Because we need help, we need help in terms of people that have been rescued, who have lost everything. Needing what is necessary, shelter, clothing, food," he said.

The Department Disaster Management department said on Wednesday that the death toll from the storm had risen to 225, from 190, with 707 people injured and 41 missing.

Flood survivors

"We are using hope as our currency to encourage those that have survived that we will not leave them alone because we are trusting you, as our international neighbours to come through so Malawians can continue with that hope," Chakwera added

At camps such as in Manja, Naotcha, Ndirande, Bangwe and Chilomoni, survivors are sharing harrowing stories of how they've lost everything their had in a blink of eye; we're grateful to be alive but were uncertaint of what lies ahead.

Most of the houses that have been destroyed were built on slopes of hills such as a Soche and were swallowed up and flattened by muddy avalanches.

Malawi's army, police, the  Red Cross and other aid agencies are still conducting search and rescue operations, with Blantyre the hardest-hit.

The severe flooding and mudslides have also, broken bridges and destroyed roads. Blantyre City Council estimates that it'll need K14 billion to restore its damaged road infrastructure.