Cyclone Freddie survivors in Mozambique, Malawi are in shock as the death toll exceeds 400.

BLANTIRE, March 16 (Reuters) – The last thing Lukia Akimu remembers is the surge of floods that hit her village near Mount Choch when Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit southern Malawi this week.

The next thing she knew, she woke up in the hospital, with bandages on her head and a brace around her neck.

“I saw a lot of water and some people being washed away. I don’t know what happened after that. I don’t know who brought me here,” the 35-year-old said from her bed at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Plantaire.

A nurse told Reuters it was not known if any of his family members had survived.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy has killed more than 400 people in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar since it first made landfall in Africa in late February and circled back to hit the region for a second time over the weekend.

The storm has now dissipated, but heavy rains are expected to continue in parts of Malawi, with further flooding around lakeside areas, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said in a statement.

In Mozambique, some villages have been completely cut off since the cyclone made a second landfall on Saturday.

“We mobilized boats and other means to search and rescue people. Many communities are stranded,” said Paulo Tom├ís, a spokesman for Mozambique’s disaster relief agency.

“After this time they are starving and need proper food and medical attention.”

At least 53 people have died in Mozambique and 326 in Malawi since the weekend, according to government figures. The storm has already killed around 27 people in Madagascar and Mozambique, with Mozambique being hit for the second time.

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Malawi President Lazarus Zakwera visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday to pray with flood victims. The storm left at least 700 injured in Malawi at last count.

As the rain continued, some had to bury the dead.

In the southern village of Mtauchira, freshly dug burial pits filled like ponds with men scooping out water with buckets to drop into urns.

While electricity was restored in Malawi on Thursday, many places affected by the storm still had no water, including the second-largest city, Blantyre.

Some Blantyre residents said they wished they had heeded warnings to evacuate before the cyclone hit, but they did not understand the gravity of the situation and now had nowhere to go.

“Before this storm it was very difficult for people to understand what was going on. The government sent messages, but nothing happened,” said Blantyre resident Locasiano Misoya. “I’m lucky to be alive.”

Freddie is one of the longest-lasting tropical cyclones on record and one of the deadliest to hit Africa in recent years.

reporting by Tom Gibb and Frank Phiri in Blantyre and Manuel Mucari in Maputo; Additional reporting by Carrion du Plessis in Johannesburg; By Nellie Peyton and Anite Mridjanian; Editing by Alexander Winning, Bradley Perrett, Sharon Singleton and Andrew Heavens

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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