Mozambique braces for floods as storm Freddy nears landfall

Animation of the height of sea waves produced from Cyclone FreddyÕs path through the Indian ocean
Animation shows the height of sea waves produced from Cyclone Freddy's path through the Indian ocean as predicted for February 17 through February 24, 2023 in this screen grab taken from a handout video received on February 21, 2023. European Union, Copernicus Marine Service Data/Handout via REUTERS

MAPUTO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Mozambican authorities on Thursday were bracing for tropical storm Freddy, which is expected to make landfall in the southern African country on Friday after killing at least four people in Madagascar.

Freddy made landfall in southeastern Madagascar on Tuesday as a tropical cyclone, packing gusts of up to 180 kph (110 mph), wreaking havoc, flooding the area and ripping roofs off houses.

After crossing the Mozambican Channel, it is expected to make landfall between Govuro and Vilankulos districts in the Mozambican province of Inhambane as a tropical storm on Feb. 24, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

Extensive floods and heavy rains are expected to follow, with some 400,000 people living in the areas of Freddy's projected trajectory, OCHA said.

Already battling massive flooding and rains in the past several days, the Mozambican government declared a state of "red alert" on Tuesday to try and mobilise authorities and expedite response operations to tackle the storm.

The government said on Wednesday its National Institute for Disaster Management has put in place rescue teams, food supplies, tents and boats to help people across the provinces that are most likely to be affected in the coming days.

Reporting by Manuel Mucari in Maputo, writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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