UN battles weather to deliver aid as Cyclone Freddy claims 200 lives

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UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations and partners are delivering aid in Mozambique and Malawi, where Tropical Cyclone Freddy caused at least 200 deaths, UN humanitarians said Tuesday.

"According to authorities, at least 200 people have died in the two countries and 45,000 people have been displaced," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. "Many of those killed in Malawi died in mudslides in Cilobwe township in Blantyre district."

With intense rains expected to continue in the coming days in Mozambique and Malawi, there is a risk of further floods and landslides that may affect more people and hamper relief operations, OCHA said.

The humanitarians said Freddy wrought destruction and damage since making its second landfall in central Mozambique over the weekend. It has since brought extensive rains to both Mozambique and Malawi.

"In both countries, the UN and our partners are working in support of the government-led responses," the office said. "Rapid assessments are under way in the hardest-hit areas and humanitarian partners are mobilizing assistance."

OCHA said that food and water treatment chemicals are being delivered to families in temporary accommodation centers in Mozambique. In Malawi, humanitarian partners provide water, hygiene and sanitation services, shelter material, and other assistance in temporary displacement sites.

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera declared a state of disaster in the country's southern region, where the storm hit hardest, reportedly killing more than 100 people, OCHA said. Several vital roads are cut or flooded, hampering reaching those in need.

The Freddy weather system has continued to move over land as a tropical depression, with a localized center close to the border between Mozambique and the southern tip of Malawi, according to Meteo France.

Freddy's first Mozambique landfall was on Feb. 24, affecting about 171,400 people and killing 10, the humanitarians said. That landfall followed early February floods, impacting more than 43,000 people.

OCHA said both countries are battling a spreading cholera outbreak that reached 8,500 confirmed cases as of Sunday in Mozambique. Enditem

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