Madagascar declares national emergency, seeks aid for flood victims
Three strong cyclones have rocked the impoverished island off Mozambique since December 25, leaving some 85,000 hectares of rice fields under water. At least seven people have died in the storms that have been accompanied by heavy rains, often lasting for days.
Prime Minister Charles Rabemananjara has estimated at about 35,000 the number of people affected by the disaster, of which half live in the capital Antananarivo.
Around 8,000 people have been left homeless and roads and bridges across the country washed away. Large tents have been erected in Antananarivo to accommodate displaced residents from the poorest areas.
Foreign Minister Marcel Ranjeva estimated at 242 million dollars the cost of infrastructural repairs and short- and long-term aid and care for the flood victims.
Another cyclone, Cyclone Favio, is currently swirling towards neighbouring Mozambique, where close to 90,000 people have evacuated their homes in recent weeks due to flooding. Angola, Zambia and Malawi have also been affected. dpa kh rk cb pmc
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