Cyclone Freddy caused destruction in Madagascar on Tuesday night, leaving four people dead and 16,660 displaced. The average winds measured by the state’s meteorological office were 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour with gusts of 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour. The red alerts for the east coast were lifted Wednesday morning and the southwestern regions of the island were placed on “blue alert,” meaning a phase of post-cyclone damage assessment, rescue, and recovery.
Martin Raveloarimanana, a church minister in Mananjary, reported that utilities, schools, stadiums, and health centers were affected, along with houses by the seafront whose roofs were blown off. He also noted that better preparation and early evacuations limited damage and risk to life. 64 tons of relief food rations have been made available to the region.
Gabriel Ravelomanantsoa, a resident of Antsenavolo, reported that bananas and breadfruit trees had been destroyed due to the winds. Vatovavy region authorities reported that 12,000 people were displaced.
Freddy is projected to leave the island Wednesday evening and travel across the Mozambican Channel, where it will likely regain strength as it barrels towards mainland Africa, with Mozambique in its path. The U.N. weather agency warned that the cyclone will lash Mozambique as a “strong tropical storm with potentially damaging winds.” A regional climate center based in Botswana also warned of “heavy to extreme rainfall” over some parts of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and South Africa. There are also fears of a new cyclone forming near the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.