UNITED NATIONS, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The world body readies itself for response as Cyclone Freddy slammed into central Mozambique over the weekend with winds of 148 km per hour, UN humanitarians said on Monday.
"It made its landfall for the second time over the weekend in Mozambique, dumping as much rain in 24 hours as would usually fall in one month," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. "Homes have been destroyed, basic services are affected, and livelihoods have been impacted. Thousands of people have sought refuge in temporary accommodation centers."
As feared, after hitting Mozambique's mid-section Saturday, Freddy's somewhat diminished wind and rain also hit southern Malawi. Heavy rains and strong winds triggered landslides, damaging houses and public infrastructure.
"The UN and our humanitarian partners are working closely with both governments to respond to Freddy and to cholera," the office said. Both countries are battling a cholera outbreak, with their efforts hampered by the storm.
The cumulative number of cholera cases is 8,465 in Mozambique, an increase of 1,114 in the last week, OCHA said.
Aid workers were deployed before the storm to the target area of Freddy, OCHA said. They are assessing the storm's impact in support of the government-led response. Power and communications are down in many affected regions, hindering aid operations.
In Malawi, humanitarian partners are working closely with the government to coordinate the response, the humanitarian office said. Workers stockpiled relief items ahead of the storm, and communities were warned about the possible impacts of the cyclone.
"In both countries, humanitarian partners urgently need additional resources to respond to the emergencies," OCHA said.
The World Meteorological Organization said Freddy was first named a tropical cyclone when spotted on Feb. 6 between the northwest coast of Australia and Indonesia. It crossed the entire South Indian Ocean, traveling more than 8,000 km, before ripping across Madagascar into the Mozambique Channel, restrengthening and hitting Mozambique for the first time on Feb. 24.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which measures accumulated cyclone energy, said Freddy's energy is equivalent to an average entire North Atlantic hurricane season. ■