© Reuters. Residents stand on a damaged road following a landslide, as Cyclone Batsirai hits Madagascar, in Haute Matsiatra region, Madagascar, February 6, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
By Lovasoa Rabary
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) – A cyclone has killed at least 10 people in southeastern Madagascar, the second to hit the Indian Ocean island in just two weeks, causing flooding, destroying buildings and knocking out power , officials said on Sunday.
One of the hardest hit towns was Nosy Varika on the east coast where nearly 95% of buildings were destroyed “as if we had just been bombed” and flooding cut off access, an official said.
Cyclone Batsirai swept inland on Saturday evening, hitting the east coast with heavy rain and winds of 165 km/h (100 mph). It was projected that it could displace up to 150,000 people.
The storm damage added to the destruction caused by Cyclone Ana, which hit the island, with a population of nearly 30,000,000, two weeks ago, killing 55 people and displacing 130,000.
Madagascar’s disaster and risk management office said in a Sunday night bulletin that 10 people had been killed. State radio said some died when their house collapsed in the town of Ambalavao, about 460 km south of the capital Antananarivo.
“We only saw desolation: uprooted trees, fallen electricity poles, roofs torn off by the wind, the city completely under water,” Fianarantsoa resident Nirina Rahaingosoa told Reuters by telephone. 420 km south of the capital.
Electricity was cut in the town as poles were knocked down by gusty winds that blew through the night until Sunday morning, he said.
Willy Raharijaona, technical adviser to the vice-president of the Senate of Madagascar, said parts of the southeast had been cut off from surrounding areas by flooding.
“It’s as if we had just been bombed. The town of Nosy Varika is nearly 95% destroyed,” he said. “The sturdy houses had their roofs torn off by the wind. The wooden huts were mostly destroyed.”
Another resident who gave only one name, Raharijaona, told Reuters that even schools and churches that had prepared to shelter the displaced around Mananjary in the southeast had seen their roofs seen. ripped off.
In the central region of Haute Matsiatra, villagers shoveled mud from a road to clean up damage from a landslide caused by Batsirai.
Cyclone Ana which hit the Indian Ocean island nation on January 22, killing at least 55 people in landslides and collapsed buildings and causing widespread flooding.
After ravaging Madagascar, Ana moved west, making landfall in Mozambique and continuing inland into Malawi. A total of 88 people were killed.
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