Considered a very Intense Tropical Cyclone, Freddy is currently a significant storm that has made its way towards the nations around Southern Eastern Africa of the Indian Ocean. It is one of the four storms traversing the Indian Ocean, the others being Cyclone Litanne in 1994, Leon-Eline and Hudah in 2000. The storm is heading towards Mozambique with 70,000 people’s lives at stake.
The Storm is expected to make its way and could hit the Mozambican coast; the estimates of the Cyclone tracker Zoom Earth, after landfall, the system is expected to weaken as it moves inland but could still bring significant amounts of rain that can generate flooding in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, according to Meteo France. While Cyclone Freddy is not expected to impact Malawi, authorities have warned that wet weather should be expected over most areas of the country due to an Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which will oscillate in the next couple of days (OCHA, 2019b).
According to President of the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) Luisa Meque, who spoke to the press in Sofala, 15 places have already been identified as accommodation centers for the victims.
Most of these accommodation centers are schools where conditions have been created to shelter those affected, said Meque on her visit to assess the readiness of the local authorities in Sofala.
“In terms of sanitation, there are conditions created, such as rehabilitated bathrooms in all accommodation centers, and we are also going to install health brigades to provide assistance,” she said. (Tropical Cyclone Freddy May Affect 70,000 People in Mozambique – CGTN, n.d.)
The Situation in Madagascar
Tropical Cyclone Freddy first made landfall on the eastern coast of Madagascar, near Manjarry, on February 21st; at least four people died, and the storm’s passage displaced about 11,000 people.
Estimates from the relief web report suggest that more than 4,500 houses have been flooded or damaged in the Vatovavy Region. This is according to the National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) stated in report (OCHA, 2019a).
Cyclone Freddy followed a similar path to Cyclones Batsirai and Emnati, which made landfall near Mananjary city on 5 February and Manakara town on 23 February 2022, respectively, affecting over 423,800 people (OCHA, 2019a).
Regarding the relief measures, the World Food Program has provided 13,000 hot meals for those affected during the last two days. An Estimate 100,000 people shall be provided with food assistance for at least two months.
What is a Tropical Cyclone? And why is it Important?
Tropical cyclones are low-pressure systems that form over warm water. The one condition to be noted is that the sea surface temperature is above 26.5 degrees Celsius.
A more technical definition of a tropical cyclone is A warm-cored, non-frontal low-pressure system of synoptic scale developing over warm waters and having organised convection and a (10-minute mean) wind speed of at least 34 knots or 63 km/h, extending more than halfway around near the centre and persisting for at least six hours (Australian Bureau of Meteorology, 2022).
The severity of these storms is described in categories ranging from 1 (Weakest) to 5 (Strongest).
Over the year, cyclones have had many regional names, such as Cyclones in the Indian Ocean and Hurricanes in the Atlantic and the Western Pacific, known as Typhoons and Willy Willies in Western Australia.