West News Wire: According to government records, since a major tropical cyclone made landfall last week and churned for days off the island’s western coast, more than twenty Madagascans have perished and tens of thousands have been rendered homeless.
Ten days ago, Cyclone Cheneso struck northeastern Madagascar, bringing with it high winds and precipitation that led to widespread flooding.
Over the course of the week, it moved southeast, causing more damage to homes, schools, and several major roadways.
An update from Madagascar’s Office for Risk and Disaster Management on Sunday stated that 25 individuals are now believed to have perished and another 21 are still missing.
Nearly 38,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, totaling at least 83,181 persons affected.
More than 23,600 houses were flooded and at least 500 others completely destroyed, the disaster management office said in an earlier update on Friday night.
Cheneso which temporarily intensified to a tropical cyclone in recent days with winds of 118-166km per hour (73-103 miles per hour) “has started to lose its purely tropical characteristic”, according to the Southwest Indian Ocean Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre based on the French overseas island of La Reunion.
Cheneso made landfall on January 19, packing winds of up to 110kmph (68.3mph).
It is the first tropical storm of the current cyclone season in Southern Africa which typically runs from November to April to hit the cyclone-prone large Indian Ocean island.
In recent years, Madagascar and Mozambique have been repeatedly hit by severe storms and cyclones that have destroyed homes, infrastructure and crops and displaced large numbers of people.
In January and February last year, four major storms hit Madagascar, killing at least 138 people, destroying 124,000 homes and displacing about 130,000 people.