Cyclone Batsirai death toll rises to 92 in Madagascar

More than 112,000 people have been displaced by last week's storm

Residents stand among destroyed houses following Cyclone Batsirai in Mananjary, Madagascar. Reuters
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A cyclone that swept through the wildlife haven of Madagascar last week has killed 92 people and displaced more than 112,000, the nation's disaster management office announced on Wednesday.

The second major storm to hit the area in two weeks swept away whole villages after it made landfall on the Indian Ocean island on Saturday evening.

Among those killed were 71 people in Ikongo district about 530 kilometres south of Antananarivo, the capital, officials said.

“Most of the houses are made of earth and when there are floods, the houses become like mud and they collapse,” Ikongo district deputy Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa said. “They collapsed on people and became like tombs for people who were asleep.”

The rural district remains completely isolated because landslides have blocked road access, he said.

“The inhabitants need help,” Mr Razafintsiandraofa said.

At least 7,500 homes were destroyed and another 7,000 flooded by the cyclone which weakened as it moved south-east across the island and then dispersed.

The storm followed moderate Tropical Storm Ana that formed a week earlier and killed scores in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar.

The World Meteorological Organisation late last year said that Africa would face challenges including intense cyclones in the coming decades, noting that “the rates of sea level rise along the tropical and south Atlantic coasts and Indian Ocean are higher than the global mean rate".

The organisation says the 2022 cyclone season in the Indian Ocean is expected to end in April with the exception of Seychelles and Mauritius, where it is expected to end in May.

Updated: February 09, 2022, 5:34 PM
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