Cyclone Hary picks up strength, approaches northern Madagascar

from Agence France-Presse
Published on 09 Mar 2002
ANTANANARIVO, March 9 (AFP) - A typhoon packing winds of 190 kilometres (119 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 260 kmph threatens to lash Madagascar within the next couple of days, the meteorological office on the Indian Ocean island said on Saturday.

Tropical cyclone "Hary" had approached to within 300 kilometres (188 miles) of the northern province of Antsiranana by late Saturday morning and was tracking rapidly towards the island.

The meteorological office said the typhoon was expected to hit on Sunday or Monday and that Antsiranana had been placed on a state of alert.

Madagascar, which is in the throes of its worst ever political crisis, has not seen such an intense tropical storm since Cyclone Hudah in April 2000 battered the north of the island, home to 40 percent of its 19 million people.

Hudah killed over 100 people and devastated crops of rice, cloves and vanilla, one of the island's principal sources of export revenue.

It also destroyed houses, schools, hospitals and several port facilities and left hundreds of thousands of people in need of relief aid.

cc/gir/gil/bp AFP

Copyright (c) 2002 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 03/09/2002 07:22:26

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