Mozambicans seek shelter as storm Freddy makes landfall

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Mozambicans took shelter as tropical storm Freddy made landfall in a coastal town, with heavy rain expected to batter the country’s southern provinces for several days.

French weather forecaster Meteo France, which has a cyclone-monitoring station on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, said Freddy hit the coast near the tourist town of Vilankulo in Inhambane province around 2 p.m. local time (1200 GMT).

The situation was calm two hours later, with no casualties reported although trees and rooftops had fallen, said Vilankulo district administrator Edmundo Galiza Matos in a statement.

Pictures posted by Matos on Facebook showed children and adults sitting on the floor in a crowded primary school classroom.

He said in the statement that 183 people had taken shelter there.

“The Government of Vilankulo continues to monitor the situation on the ground and thanks the population for responding positively to the appeals of the authorities,” the statement said.

The storm should weaken over the next few hours, but heavy rainfall will continue to pose a threat over the next few days in southern Mozambique and south eastern Zimbabwe, said Meteo France.

Some parts of northern South Africa are also at risk of flooding and wind damage, the South African government said in a separate statement.

Cornelder de Moçambique, a company that operates cargo terminals in Mozambique’s main port Beira, said in a statement that the port was closed until 7 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Friday, subject to the weather conditions improving.

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