Rescuers scramble to find survivors in cyclone-hit Malawi  

BLANTYRE - Rescuers scrambled on Wednesday to reach survivors in Malawi’s battered city of Blantyre, after Cyclone Freddy struck southern Africa for a second time, triggering floods and landslides that have killed more than 200 people.  Weather conditions were expected to improve as the storm dissipated over land after days of torrential rains, but localised thunderstorms would persist, and flood levels remained high in some areas, hampering emergency efforts. “We found people in the trees, on rooftops or on higher grounds,” Red Cross Malawi spokesman Felix Washon told AFP. “It’s a challenge to reach them, water is high, and bridges are broken.”  Freddy returned to southeastern Africa at the weekend for a second time in less than three weeks, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. At least 190 people were killed in Malawi with 584 injured and 37 missing. The authorities in neighbouring Mozambique reported 21 deaths. Pope Francis offered prayers for the Malawi cyclone victims, during his weekly audience at St Peter’s Square. “I pray for the dead, the injured, the displaced. May the Lord support the families and the communities hardest hit by this calamity,” he said. Rescue workers warned that more victims were to be expected as they scoured destroyed neighbourhoods for survivors, even as hopes dwindled.

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