Maputo, Mozambique - Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi said Wednesday the death toll in the country from Cyclone Freddy has jumped to 53, with nearly 50,000 people displaced by the record-breaking storm, which killed at least 225 in neighboring Malawi.
In a state TV address, Nyusi said the cyclone-related deaths in Mozambique were caused by drownings, electrocutions, fires, falling walls and trees, and lightning. He said the city of Quelimane was the worst affected by Cyclone Freddy, with 50,000 people displaced from destroyed and damaged homes to more than 130 centers with temporary shelters. More than 1,500 classrooms and 52 clinics were destroyed in Zambezia province, according to Nyusi.
The Mozambique president said 250 security personnel were dispatched for rescue operations and nearly $4 million has been ear-marked to support recovery efforts.
He said Mozambique will have a permanent post-cyclone reconstruction office, and an assessment of the damage will be carried out and followed by the mobilization of internal and external resources for the recovery or reconstruction of the affected districts in the province of Zambezia.
Nyusi said the cyclone cut roads and power to some areas, and continuing rains were hampering search and rescue efforts in the six affected provinces.
Freddy hit Mozambique for a second time Saturday, becoming one of the longest-lasting tropical cyclones ever recorded since first making landfall in February in Madagascar.
The cyclone, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, dumped heavy rains across Mozambique and Malawi, causing severe flooding that swept away roads and bridges and buried houses under thick mud.
Tens of thousands were left homeless and scores remain missing - meaning the death toll is certain to rise.