Cyclone Freddie survivors in Mozambique, Malawi are in shock as more than 300 die.

BLANTYRE, March 16 (Reuters) – The last thing Lukia Akimu remembers was the floods that hit her village near Mount Choch earlier this week when Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit southern Malawi.

Next thing she knew, she woke up in the hospital, bandages on her head and a brace on her neck.

“I saw a lot of water and some people being swept away. I don’t know what happened after that. I don’t know who brought me here,” said Akimu, 35, from his bed at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre.

A nurse told Reuters it was not known if any of his family members had survived.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy has killed more than 300 people since it first made landfall in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar last month, with the toll expected to rise as officials continue to assess damage and count the dead in hard-to-reach areas. flood

The storm has now dissipated, but heavy rains are expected to continue in parts of Malawi, and flooding around lakeside areas is possible, the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said in a statement.

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In Mozambique, some villages have been completely cut off since the cyclone made a second landfall on Saturday.

“We mobilized boats and other means to search and rescue people. Many communities are stranded,” said Paulo Tom├ís, a spokesman for Mozambique’s disaster relief agency.

“After this time they are starving and need proper food and medical attention,” he said.

At least 53 people have died in Mozambique and 225 in Malawi since the weekend, according to government figures. The storm has already killed around 27 people in Madagascar and Mozambique, with Mozambique being hit for the second time.

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Malawi President Lazarus Zakwera visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday where he prayed with flood victims. At least 700 people were injured in the latest storm in Malawi.

As the rain continued, some had to bury the dead.

In the southern Malawi village of Mtauchira, men stood in freshly dug graves, filled like ponds, as they pumped out water with buckets to lower them into urns.

While electricity was restored in Malawi on Thursday, many places affected by the storm still had no water, including the second-largest city, Blantyre.

Some Blantyre residents said they wished they had heeded warnings to evacuate before the cyclone hit, but they didn’t understand gravity and had nowhere to go.

“Before this storm it was very difficult for people to understand what was happening. The government sent messages but nothing happened afterwards,” said Logasiano Misoya, a resident of Blantyre. “I’m lucky to be alive.”

Freddie is one of the longest-lasting tropical cyclones on record and one of the deadliest to hit Africa in recent years.

reporting by Tom Gibb and Frank Phiri in Blantyre and Manuel Mucari in Maputo; Additional reporting by Carrion du Plessis in Johannesburg; By Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alexander Winning, Bradley Perrett and Sharon Singleton

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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