Cyclone Freddy toll passes 300 as Mozambique counts bodies

Mourners arrive for a mass funeral procession for mudslide victims at Chilobwe township’s Naotcha Primary school camp in Blantyre, Malawi, on Mar 15, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

MAPUTO — The death toll from Tropical Cyclone Freddy has passed 300 people as the body count continues to rise, with authorities in Mozambique taking several days to assess the extent of the damage and loss of life.

The storm tore through southern Africa over the weekend for a second time after first making landfall in late February. It is one of the longest-lasting tropical cyclones ever recorded, and one of the deadliest in Africa in recent years.

At least 53 people have died in Mozambique's Zambezia province, authorities said late on Wednesday, more than doubling their previous count.

READ MORE: UN delivers aid as Cyclone Freddy claims 200 lives

Malawi has reported 225 dead so far, with hundreds more injured and some still missing. The storm had killed about 27 people in Madagascar and Mozambique before lashing Mozambique for a second time.

Continued rain and power outages have hampered search and rescue efforts this week, as the storm caused severe flooding, swept away roads and left bodies and houses buried in mud.