Cyclone Freddy is set to move away from land after barrelling through Mozambique and Malawi since late last week, killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands more.
The cyclone has killed at least 199 people in Malawi’s southern region and within and around Blantyre, the country’s financial hub, according to local authorities.
In neighbouring Mozambique, officials say at least 20 people have died since the storm made landfall in the port town of Quelimane on Saturday night, bringing high winds and torrential rain.
Malawi, which has been battling a cholera outbreak, is at risk of a resurgence of the disease, Mr Botelho warned, “especially since the vaccine coverage in Blantyre is very poor”.
The aid organisation has suspended its outreach programmes to protect its staff against flash floods and landslides, but is supporting cyclone relief efforts at a local hospital.
It is unclear whether the cyclone – possibly the longest-lasting in recorded history – will then dissipate or move away from land after that.
Kim Yi Dionne of University of California Riverside said Malawi has a disaster management agency that prepares and plans for the challenges that come with the climate crisis.
“We are likely to hear of many more casualties … in the days and weeks to come.”
Freddy first developed near Australia in early February.
The UN’s weather agency has convened an expert panel to determine whether it has broken the record for the longest-ever cyclone in recorded history, which was set by 31-day Hurricane John in 1994.