The government said on Monday that more than 80,000 people had lost their homes in the worst-hit Fenerive district, and up to 70 per cent of buildings had been destroyed.

 

Marc Ravalomanana, Madagascar's president and the richest businessman in the country, is leading a relief effort by providing rice, yoghurt, cheese and money to some of the hardest hit areas on the east coast.

 

Food shortage 

 

The island-nation is now facing a serious food shortage as 15,000 hectares in the rice-growing region of Alaotra Mangoro remain submerged in floodwaters.

 

The area provides 30 per cent of the island's staple food.

 

Ivan first struck the island of Sainte Marie, a popular tourist resort where nearly half of the population were left homeless.

 

The government said the cyclone had affected 211,000 people, more than 1 per cent of the population, in some way.

Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island, is regularly struck by cyclones and there are fears that global warming may exacerbate the cyclone season.

 

An earlier storm, Cyclone Fame, killed at least 13 people.

 

Last season is the worst on record, when six cyclones killed about 150 people.