Cyclone Freddy returns, killing at least 15 people in Malawi, Mozambique.

At least fifteen people have died in Malawi and Mozambique when Cyclone Freddy hit the two countries with heavy rains and strong winds after it returned to the southern African mainland, authorities said on Monday.

Malawi police said 11 people have died in areas surrounding the southern city of Blantyre, where heavy rains have caused flooding, as the cyclone returned just weeks after it first hit the continent.

According to preliminary data, at least 16 more people were missing and four were injured.

Four more people have died in neighboring Mozambique as damages were assessed after the hurricane hit the country for the second time on Saturday, local officials said.

Richard Duva, 38, said his sister-in-law’s family was swept away by flash flooding in Chilobwe, a town south of Blantyre.

“About 5 am, we got a call from our neighbors saying ‘your relatives were washed away by the rain,'” Duva, a government official, told AFP.

“Unfortunately, we just found one body, a little boy, and the other four are not visible.”

Earlier, police said they found the body of a three-year-old girl after a flood broke its banks and washed away houses built along its course.

The Malawian government has ordered schools in ten southern districts to remain closed until Wednesday as rain and winds are expected to continue to hit the south of the country.

National airline Malawi Airlines said all flights to Blantyre were canceled until further notice after an inbound plane encountered bad weather mid-flight and was forced to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

“It was deemed prudent to return to Lilongwe,” Malawi Airlines spokesman Only Taulo said.

Longest running tropical cyclone? –

Freddie arrived in the landlocked country early Monday morning after passing through Mozambique over the weekend.

In Mozambique, at least three people died in Namakura, a city in the central province of Zambezia, according to Mozambique’s district chief Mura Xavier.

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Another person was reported to have died over the weekend after a house collapsed in the nearby Zalala area.

The death toll was expected to rise as authorities worked to cover all affected areas.

“We are experiencing communication difficulties and this situation does not allow us to receive reliable data,” said Health Minister Armindo Thiago.

Guy Taylor, a spokesman for the UN children’s agency UNICEF, said the rains eased on Monday, but the hard-hit coastal town of Quelimane was left without access to clean running water.

According to him, the flood affected areas of the city.

“The damage is big,” Taylor said by phone. “In more rural areas, many houses are completely destroyed.”

Death toll in Cyclone Freddy

Forming off northwest Australia in the first week of February, Freddie was expected to be the longest-running tropical cyclone on record, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

He crossed the entire southern part of the Indian Ocean and passed through Madagascar from February 21, crossed the island and reached Mozambique on February 24.

Following what meteorologists call a “rare” looping trajectory, Freddie then headed back towards Madagascar before heading back towards Mozambique.

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During his first fatal visit to the country, he affected about 166,000 people.

Upon his return, he brought with him even stronger winds and rains, Taylor said.

“We prioritize saving people and removing lifeless bodies. We don’t have numbers,” said André Tazingua, commander of the Zambezian fire department.

“The most important thing is the help we provide, and we will continue to work.”

In total, Freddie has killed at least 42 people so far – 11 in Malawi, 14 in Mozambique and 17 in Madagascar.

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