The United Nations has reported that over half a million people in Malawi have been displaced by the deadly Cyclone Freddy, which struck the country last week. In just six days, the cyclone brought six months of rainfall to southern Malawi, leading to record-breaking floods and mudslides that destroyed homes, roads, and bridges as reported by News 24.
The disaster has resulted in the deaths of nearly 500 people in the south of the country. In contrast, another 150 have died in other southern African countries affected by the cyclone since the end of February.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has stated that at least 508,250 people have been displaced and 499 killed by the flooding in Malawi alone, with 14 districts across nearly half the country affected.
The IOM has called for urgent humanitarian support, including shelter, food, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, health, and protection.
The country was already dealing with its deadliest cholera outbreak on record when the storm hit, and the situation is expected to worsen. According to the IOM, Madagascar and Mozambique were also affected by Cyclone Freddy, with over one million people impacted and more than 160,000 people internally displaced.
The organization noted that climate change-related extreme weather is increasingly driving displacement worldwide, particularly in vulnerable countries. Over the past decade, the IOM stated that climate-related disasters had caused an average of 21.6 million internal displacements annually.