Madagascar braced for chaos as Cyclone Freddy approaches

Only two weeks ago, Cyclone Chenoso killed 30 people on the island

Cyclone Freddy appears in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. AP
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A powerful cyclone approached the nature haven of Madagascar on Friday, two weeks after another tropical cyclone killed 30 people on the Indian Ocean island.

Cyclone Freddy has been categorised as an “intense tropical cyclone” by Meteo France, which added it was a “particularly powerful and compact tropical system, generating extreme winds near its centre”.

Freddy is predicted to cause flooding and damage on the nearby islands of Mauritius and Reunion at the weekend.

It was one of three cyclones recently on the move in the oceans around Australia, Accuweather reported. But after forming on February 6, it is now the only one remaining.

“Only two other cyclones have taken a track from the eastern Indian Ocean to near Madagascar, and they were Hudah and Leone, also known as Eline, in 2000,” said AccuWeather Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls.

“Coincidentally, the year 2000 was also the last time there was a 'triple-dip La Nina.'”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent in Madagascar said it was mobilising its teams for the cyclone.

Madagascar’s General Directorate of Meteorology has issued alerts for the Analanjirofo and Sava regions, warning residents to take preventive measures as they expect a more powerful Freddy to make landfall between Tuesday and Wednesday next week on the country’s east coast.

The mainland African coastal nations of Mozambique and South Africa, as well as Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, were on high alert for heavy rains and thunderstorms from Freddy in the coming week.

In late January, Cyclone Cheneso caused flooding and landslides in Madagascar, leaving 30 people dead and 20 more missing.

The storm made landfall on the north-east of the island last Thursday and affected close to 89,000 people, Madagascar’s National Office for Risk and Disaster Management said.

Madagascar’s meteorological agency said the storm, which has now passed across the country into the Mozambique Channel, saw winds gusting up to 170 kilometres per hour as well as torrential rains.

Updated: March 06, 2023, 11:45 AM