Madagascar’s latest cyclone to land with wind speeds

Cyclone Emnati, barreling towards Madagascar, is expected to hit late on Tuesday with wind speeds of up to 170 kilometres per hour, the government’s meteorological department said, making it the fourth major storm to slam into the Indian Ocean island in a month.

Madagascar’s National Office for Risk and Disaster Management said nearly 275,000 people were in the cyclone’s path. Tens of thousands of people have already been made homeless in this year’s cyclone season.

The national meteorological office said in its bulletin that the cyclone would make landfall on the eastern coast of the island late on Tuesday, continue through the central highlands and move out to sea in the Mozambique Channel on Wednesday.

The island is still reeling from effects of Cyclone Batsirai, which hit on February 5, killing 124 and damaging or destroying the homes of 124,000 people. Around 30,000 more people were displaced.

Last week, tropical storm, Dumako, killed at least 14 people and displaced 4,323 people, the disaster relief agency said.

Aid group, Save the Children, said Batsirai, Dumako and another storm, Ana, have destroyed just over 2,500 classrooms, preventing 133,600 children from attending school.

The death toll from Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar jumped to 120 last Friday from the 92 reported earlier this week, the state disaster relief agency said.

The cyclone hit the Indian Ocean Island late on Saturday, slamming the southeastern coastline before receding late on Sunday.

The disaster relief agency said that of the deaths, 87 had occurred in one area, the Ikongo district in southeast Madagascar.

It said earlier this week it was still collecting details about what had happened in Ikongo.

The latest update raises the death toll from 111 reported earlier last Friday.

The agency said the cyclone had left just over 124,000 people with their homes damaged or destroyed, and some 30,000 more displaced and camping at 108 sites.

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

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

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