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Cyclone Freddy kills 7 in Madagascar, becomes a storm in Mozambique

 Cyclone Freddy kills 7 in Madagascar, becomes a storm in Mozambique
Gale force winds hit the coast of the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius Monday Feb. 20, 2023.   -  
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Tropical cyclone Freddy, which has been sweeping across the Indian Ocean for several days, has killed 7 people as it passes through Madagascar and has weakened considerably as it makes landfall in Mozambique on Friday as a moderate tropical storm.

The winds accompanying the weather phenomenon are averaging 65km/h with gusts to 90km/h, the Malagasy government said in a statement on Thursday, raising the death toll from five to seven on the Big Island. The cyclone is moving more slowly, at 19 km/h.

It was expected to start hitting the Mozambican coast overnight, between the centre and the south of the country, before its eye made landfall around 10am GMT, according to forecasters.

In Madagascar, it has caused significant damage. The seven dead include four drowned, with three others killed "as a result of a house collapse", the disaster management office said.

No one is currently missing.

According to the latest update, 78,078 Malagasy have been affected by the floods, many of whom have had to leave their homes.

Cyclone Freddy made landfall on Tuesday evening, with winds of around 130km/h and heavy rain.

About 10 storms or cyclones pass through the southwestern Indian Ocean each year during the cyclone season, which runs from November to April.

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