Cyclone death toll in Madagascar rises to 30 – Channels Television

An uprooted and fallen tree on a public garden in central Antsirabe is seen following Cyclone Batsirai on February 6, 2022. – Cyclone Batsirai killed at least six people and displaced nearly 48,000 when it hit Madagascar overnight, the national disaster management agency said on Sunday. (Photo by RIJASOLO / AFP)

The death toll from Cyclone Batsirai, which left Madagascar on Monday morning, has risen to 30, according to an updated tally by authorities, and could rise further as bodies continue to be found in the rubble of collapsed houses.

On Wednesday morning, the Malagasy disaster management agency (BNGRC) announced that the death toll on the Indian Ocean island had risen from 21 to 30 the previous evening. The BNGRC said 94,000 people were victims of Batsirai of which 60,000 are now homeless.

Many NGOs and UN agencies have started deploying resources and teams to help victims of the cyclone which brought heavy rains and winds of 165 kilometers (102 miles) per hour.

The tropical cyclone hit Madagascar overnight from Saturday to Sunday, in an eastern coastal area 150 km long, sparsely populated and agricultural.

As the cyclone moved inland, it caused flooding that ravaged rice paddies in the country’s central “breadbasket”, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis.

German experts have arrived in the country, one of the poorest on the planet, to “support the humanitarian response in the Batsirai crossing areas”, the BNGRC said, and work is underway on the 20 roads and the 17 bridges that were cut, isolating villages.

“We know for sure that the rice fields, that the rice crops will be damaged, will be lost. It is the main crop of Malagasy people and their food security will be seriously affected over the next three to six months if we do not act immediately,” said Pasqualina DiSirio, director of the World Food Program (WFP) in the country. .

The UN agency distributed hot meals in Manakara, one of the most affected localities.

Many NGOs, including Action Against Hunger, Handicap International, Save the Children and Doctors of the World, mobilized before the cyclone, organizing equipment and medicines.

Alongside the aid provided by the government, they provided assistance to the disaster victims: food, primary health care and the distribution of kitchen equipment, blankets and hygiene products.

Some 77% of Madagascar’s 28 million people live below the poverty line, and the latest blow comes during a severe drought in the south that has plunged more than a million people into acute malnutrition, some in the face of starvation.

Madagascar was still picking up the pieces after Tropical Storm Ana affected at least 131,000 people across the island late last month, with most of the 55 deaths occurring in Antananarivo.

Ana also hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, killing dozens.

Karl M. Bailey