Madagascar death toll from Cyclone Batsirai nears 100

Cyclone which left 91,000 people with destroyed or damaged homes was the island nation’s second destructive storm in two weeks.

A man works on the destroyed house of Philibert Jean Claude Razananoro, in the aftermath of Cyclone Batsirai
A man works on a destroyed house in the aftermath of Cyclone Batsirai, in the town of Mananjary, Madagascar [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

The death toll from Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar rose to 92, the state disaster relief agency has said, as information continued to filter in from areas of the country that were badly affected.

The cyclone slammed into the large Indian Ocean island late on Saturday, knocking down houses and electricity lines as it battered the southeastern coast until it moved away late on Sunday, leaving 91,000 people with destroyed or damaged homes.

The disaster relief agency had earlier on Wednesday raised the toll from 29 to 80, and said that 60 of the deaths had occurred in a single area, the Ikongo district in southeast Madagascar. It said it was still collecting details about what had happened in Ikongo.

A member of parliament representing the district had previously said the death toll was high there, and that most victims had drowned or been crushed when their houses collapsed.

An aerial view shows damaged houses and debris on the beach, in the aftermath of Cyclone Batsirai
An aerial view shows damaged houses and debris on the beach, in the aftermath of Cyclone Batsirai, in Mananjary [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

Batsirai was Madagascar’s second destructive storm in two weeks, after Cyclone Ana killed 55 people and displaced 130,000 in a different area of the country, further north.

The island nation, which has a population of nearly 30 million, was already struggling with food shortages in the south, a consequence of a severe and prolonged drought.

The World Food Programme said Batsirai had made the situation worse by destroying crops of rice, fruits and vegetables that were just two weeks away from harvest.

The cyclone caused widespread flooding and made 12 roads and 14 bridges impassable, cutting off some of the worst affected areas and impeding efforts to bring relief to local communities.

Source: Reuters