Freddy expected to head into the Mozambican Channel and re-strengthen

Tropical Cyclone Freddy slamming into Madagascar’s eastern coast on Wednesday claimed the lives of at least four people and displaced 11,000 others from their homes, a UN spokesman said.

Government preliminary estimates showed that although the storm weakened before landfall near the city of Mananjary, it brought devastating winds, said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. More than 4,500 houses were flooded or damaged, mainly in the Vatovavy region.

“We and our humanitarian partners are supporting the government in the response and have started providing assistance to some 7,000 people who were evacuated from their homes,” Dujarric said. “Assessments will start tomorrow (Thursday) to determine the full extent of the damage and the response required.”

After crossing Madagascar, Freddy is expected to head into the Mozambican Channel and re-strengthen before landing in Mozambique on Thursday, he said.

The spokesman said the United Nations and its partners are supplying residents with food, camp management and emergency telecommunications equipment. Nutrition supplies were replenished at health centers ahead of the cyclone.

Next week, humanitarians will begin distributing cash and education assistance, he said. ■

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