Madagascar floods leave thousands homeless

A series of floods have left 7,000 people homeless in Madagascar this cyclone season after tropical storms lashed the island this week.

The destruction of crops, roads and houses has left a total of 25,000 people are in need of humanitarian aid in the Indian Ocean island state, one of the world’s poorest.

“More than $242 million is needed to rebuild after the damage. We are appealing for international solidarity. We are counting on it,” Madagascar’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The category 2 (on a scale of 5) cyclone Favio was the latest to touch the Southern part of the island on Wednesday, displacing 33,000 people and killing 3.

Having ravaged Madagascar’s coast, Cyclone Favio headed for Mozambique which it was expected to hit with greater strength.

“The meteorological office have indicated that the cyclone is in the Indian Ocean is intensifying with the wind strength of 160 km (100 miles) an hour. We are now activating our early warning system and activation of the contingency plans,” said Fernanda Teixeira of the Mozambique Red Cross.

“It will be a sad scenario for the people of Sofala [in Mozambique] to be hit by a cyclone at a time when they are healing from the recent flooding,” she said.

Madagascar’s cyclone season, normally lasting from November to March, has already seen six cyclones with the worst damage inflicted by Bondo and Clovis in January.

The cyclones have destroyed 200,000 tons of rice, the Madagascar’s staple food crop. Damages to housing were made worse by the improvised architecture of many buildings in Madagascar, where many people live in shantytowns and self-constructed houses.

Goska Romanowicz

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