Malagasy families are bracing for the strongest tropical storm in a decade as Cyclone Freddy heads for the country's east coast, putting more than two million people at risk, including one million children, warns Save the Children. Cyclone Freddy is expected to make landfall on Tuesday (February 21) as a Category 5 cyclone, with wind gusts of up to 165 mph, and could affect up to two million people living in its path. It is the strongest storm to form anywhere on Earth in 2023 and one of only five Category 5 storms on record in February, which could bring torrential rains, widespread flash flooding, dangerous landslides and even deaths, according to Save The Children.
The Save The Children organization is sounding the alarm about the increasing frequency and intensity of tropical storms in the southern African region. Cyclone Freddy will be the second cyclone to hit Madagascar this year, following devastating Cyclone Cheneso in January, which left 33 dead, 20 missing and 34,000 homeless. The organization is concerned about what could be a deadly hurricane season this year in the region, adding that such extreme weather events are becoming more frequent due to the climate crisis.
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