Southern Africa: Tropical Cyclone Freddy – Flash Update No. 5 (06 March 2023)

After its passage over Mozambique, Severe Tropical Storm Freddy returned to the Mozambique channel and moved towards the south-western coast of Madagascar, where it brought heavy rains to the city of Toliara and surrounding areas.

Four people have died in Madagascar due to the latest rains, bringing Freddy’s death toll to least 21 people (10 in Mozambique and 11 in Madagascar).

The cyclone is now moving away from Madagascar and is expected to intensify as it moves again towards Mozambique.

Response to Tropical Cyclone Freddy is underway in both Madagascar and Mozambique.


After staying for several days in Mozambique, the Tropical Cyclone Freddy weather system re-emerged in the Mozambique Channel on 2 March 2023, and then approached the south-western coast of Madagascar. The weather system came within 20-30 kilometres of the city of Toliara in Atsimo-Andrefana region on 5 March. It then started to move away from land on 6 March and is expected to move in a north-westerly direction, although details remain uncertain, according to Meteo France. Freddy is forecasted to re-intensify in the Mozambique Channel into a tropical cyclone (potentially an intense tropical cyclone), and could make another landfall in Mozambique, likely in Zambezia or Nampula provinces, later this week.

In Madagascar, the latest rains brought by Freddy have left at least four people dead, over 3,100 people displaced and more than 3,300 houses flooded (2,695) or destroyed (618) in Toliara and Morombe districts, according to preliminary reports by the National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) as of 6 March. Strong winds and heavy rain will continue over most of southern Madagascar, in particular in the Atsimo-Andrefana region, in the coming hours. All west and south-west regions have been placed on red, yellow or green alert by Meteo Madagascar. River levels have significantly increased and, if the Fiherenana River overflows, there is a risk of flooding in some parts of Toliara city.

Freddy’s latest passage by Madagascar will increase the number of people impacted by the system on the island. Following Freddy’s first landfall on the south-east coast of the country on 21 February, at least 226,000 people were affected, of whom an estimated 148,000 are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the findings of a multisectoral assessment carried out by the Government and humanitarian partners.

In Mozambique, nearly 166,600 people have been affected by Tropical Storm Freddy, according to National Institute for Disaster Management (INGD). Authorities reported that nearly 9,900 displaced people took shelter in 40 accommodation sites in Inhambane, Gaza, Sofala and Maputo, and about 800 people have been rescued. More than 28,300 houses were destroyed (1,667), damaged (13,966) or flooded (12,733). At least 25 health facilities and 919 classrooms were destroyed, leaving 68,280 children out of school. Over 38,100 hectares of crops were impacted and more than 18,700 hectares of crops have been lost. Authorities across the affected provinces have requested support to provide agricultural inputs to remedy the loss of crops through a successful short-crops season. Inputs should be provided by April to farmers to enable planting and harvest in July/September. Meanwhile, four districts in Sofala, Niassa and Zambezia, together with Niassa Province, have been declared cholera free. Despite progress, over the last week, the number of cases have risen by 15 per cent over the past week (from 5,638 to 6,690), with concerns that continued rainfall and flooding could exacerbate the outbreak.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs