Death toll from Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar rises to 21

At least 70,350 people displaced by storm, says disaster management agency

The death toll from Tropical Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar rose to 21, the country’s disaster management agency confirmed on Tuesday.

The National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management said 70,355 people were displaced by the storm, which brought heavy rains and winds in the country’s eastern coastline over the weekend.

The initial death toll was put on 10.

The deaths were reported in Fitovinany, Haute Matsiatra, Vakinankaratra, and Vatovavy regions, it said.

The most affected area was the southeastern city of Mananjary, where strong winds and rain destroyed homes and damaged infrastructure, including schools and hospitals.

Cyclone Batsirai on Saturday made landfall near Mananjary, around 530 kilometers (329 miles) from Antananarivo, around 8:00 p.m. local time, the agency said.

Gusts reached speeds of 235 kilometers per hour (146 miles per hour) with high waves battering coastal areas, according to the country’s meteorological agency.

The cyclone weakened as it moved inland, with winds scaling back to around 110km/h (68 mph).

It was the second major storm in a week after Tropical Storm Ana struck the Indian Ocean island last month, killing 55 people and displacing more than 110,000 others.

Last month, nearly 80 people were killed following tropical storms in the three southern African countries of Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi.

According to experts, extreme weather events such as cyclones could become more regular, attributable to climate change.

Pasqualina Di Sirio, the World Food Program (WFP) director for Madagascar, told reporters ahead of the storm that she anticipated “a major crisis.”


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