Tropical Cyclone Freddy

17 March 2023

His excellency, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera (President of the Republic of Malawi) has declared a state of disaster in 12 districts of the southern region affected by Cyclone Freddy.

The latest

Update – Tropical Cyclone Freddy, 20th March 2023

As of 18th March, the Government of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) report that as a result of Tropical Cyclone Freddy, to date in Malawi:

  • 445 people have lost their lives.
  • Around 363,000 people (over 86,000 households) have been displaced.
  • 282 people are missing.
  • 918 are injured.

Public infrastructure including schools, health facilities, and district and main roads have been damaged in all affected districts.

DoDMA says that the most critical needs are:

  1. the ongoing search and rescue operation for those trapped by flood waters and killed by mudslides.
  2. in providing food and vital items to the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have lost their homes and belongings and are now sheltering in over 500 camps.

In addition to the cash and in-kind donations, Malawi has received search and rescue and air support for delivery of relief supplies to the areas cut-off from international organizations and partners. In response to the State of Disaster declaration and appeal for support, governments, UN Agencies, Donors, national and international non-governmental organisations, private sector and well-wishers have made both cash and in-kind donations towards the people affected by flooding disaster. Appeal funds and ways of giving are listed below. Please let the SMP know of any appeal that you or your partner organisations mount so that we can help to promote this.

DoDMA’s situation report, which reflects the far-reaching impact of the Cyclone, can be read in full below.


Tropical Cyclone Freddy which hit Malawi on Saturday has led to loss of life, injury and devastation of crops, homes and infrastructure in parts of Southern Malawi. Malawi’s President Chakwera, on Monday the 13th March, declared a state of disaster in the Southern Region of the country. Damage has been caused by torrential rain, high winds, significant flooding, rivers bursting their banks and landslides, notably in Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thylo and Zomba districts. Weather monitors have said that mountainous areas are especially vulnerable.

Cyclone Freddy is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. The World Meteorological Organization says that Freddy, (which began off North Western Australia in the first week of February making landfall in Mozambique on Saturday 11th March), is also likely to have broken the record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone.

Schools in 10 districts in the Southern region have been closed and the Government of Malawi’s Ministry of Labour have encouraged all but essential workers in affected areas not to report for work, unless their safety can be guaranteed.

The Malawi Red Cross is conducting search and rescue operations, administering First Aid and rushing casualties to hospital.

We at the SMP shall continue to share updates received from Malawi, our members and their Malawian partners. Our thoughts are with everyone affected.

Official Sources

  • Updated Press Release from the Malawi Government on Twitter
  • Current Tropical Cyclone location - World Meteorological Organisation
  • Situation Report produced by the Malawi Department of Disaster Management Affairs from 13th March
  • Press Release from the Office of the President and Cabinet - Department of Disaster Management Affairs dates 14th March
  • Press Release - "His Excellency, Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi has directed that the nation observes a 14 day national mourning period from Thursday 16th March to Wednesday 29th March to hon or the lives lost due to Cyclone Freddy".
  • Final Update for Cyclone Freddy- Malawi Department of Disaster Management Affairs dated 16th March 2023.
  • Our Sister Organisation, the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP) convened and led an online emergency meeting on 15th March, which included updates from representatives from Malawi's Department of Disaster Management (DoDMA), Red Cross, EGENCO, CISONECC and MaSP. A video of this valuable meeting can be found on the graphic on the right.
Recorded online video of emergency meeting held by the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP).

Useful links

Appeals: how to donate

Major Appeals in Malawi
  • The official appeal from DoDMA can be found here.
  • The Malawi Red Cross Society have launched an appeal supporting those who are affected. Details of bank details can be found here.
  • The official appeal from the Malawi Scotland Partnership can be found here.
SMP Members’/their Partners’ Appeals

The Association of Malawians in Scotland (AMS) have gathered a report from Malawi Healthcare Support UK (MAHECAS) who report damage to the fabric of a number of wards in Malawi and list current needs as follows.Thanks to AMS Chair, Joyce Phiri for the info. As soon as we receive information on how to donate or to make this available, we shall provide updates:

Shortage of drugs for trauma case management such as the following:

  1. Iodine solution
  2. Sutures - vicryl, silk, nylon all sizes 1&2
  3. Gauze bandages
  4. Cotton wool
  5. Square and roll gauze
  6. BP cuffs
  7. Thermometers
  8. Stethoscope
  9. Powdered soap
  10. Mops
Health workers also need support since now they have to walk to the camps set up to keep those whose houses have been damaged, therefore they need support with the following:
  1. Raincoats
  2. Gum boots
  • Rotary Club of Limbe have launched an appeal (includes bank details). They write "we are appealing to all our partner clubs around the world to help with our relief efforts."
  • Building Future's in Malawi have launched an appeal. They write "planning to donate relief items such as clothes, food, and blankets to the victims. Therefore we are appealing to well-wishers for help". Details to donate can be found here.
  • Zambesi Mission have launched an appeal. They work closely with Zambezi Evangelical Churches (ZEC) and River of Life Evangelical Churches across Malawi. They write "Many of these churches have been badly affected, including Chilobwe ZEC, which saw 10 members of one family tragically killed when their house was swept away. Any donations will be passed on to our local partners in the form of food, soap, utensils, shelter and house repairs according to the priority of need." You can donate here
Other organisations inviting support

Organisations who have contacted us inviting support*

  • MAHECAS UK have launched the following appeal "Malawi Cyclone Freddy Relief Fund". Full details are on their Go Fund Me page.
  • AN Nasihah Trust have launched the following appeal (includes bank details). They write “An Nashia Trust will be heading out to distribute shelter, food and medical supplies to those affected by the cyclone.
  • Road to Relief have launched the following appeal, by “donating MWK 33,340 this provides the displaced with a pack containing 10kgs of ufa, 500 gram salt, 5 packets of soya pieces, 1 bar of soap, 100 gram of tea, 1kg of sugar, 2 kgs of rice, plastic sheeting, bucket, water guard, blanket (includes bank details).
  • Thandiwe Hara and Brenda Malinki have launched the following appeal, full details are on their Go Fund Me page. They write "Funds received will be accounted for, it's a fast moving effort with multiple points of collection. This Go Fund Me is just one of the efforts by Dr Thandi and Onjezani and the team."
  • Joshua Orphan and Community Care have launched an appeal. They write "We have just launched our emergency appeal to help our communities in the wake of the devastation caused by cyclone Freddy". Details on how to donate can be found here.

*The SMP cannot vouch for organisations which are not SMP members or are unknown to the SMP, but share details here in good faith, in a bid to support as much as possible, calls from Malawi.


We are thankful for our friends in Malawi who have shared the following images with us.