Cyclone Haruna kills 13 in southern Madagascar
By RIVONALA RAZAFISON in Antananarivo
The tropical cyclone Haruna that made landfall in southern Madagascar on Friday killed 13 people, the national disaster management agency (BNGRC) said.
The storm also injured 47 and affected over 17,100 residents in the prone-areas while dozens are still missing.
Official data shows around 6,200 were declared homeless because of material damage.
In effect, 220 houses were completely destroyed while 691 were uncapped and other 1,050 watered.
Winds and floods damaged plantation fields, several administrative infrastructures like schools, hospitals, bureaus, and electricity facilities.
The regional capital city Toliara was the most affected after the Fiherenena dyke that has protected the town gave in to the water pressure.
Most of the local residents have been deprived of electricity and fresh water, officials said.
The city has reportedly never experienced such a disaster for the 35 last years.
“The dyke breach has aggravated the situation at local level. We used speed boards to save many lives. But some were damaged after hurting stones and fallen trees,” Mr Jugus Razafiarison, director at the BNGRC, told reporters.
In the meantime, traditional fishermen had to use their pirogues for their own safety.
The international airport of Toliara was said to be again operational after being watered for hours.
The cyclone Haruna was located at 550 km to east of Madagascar’s coast on Sunday afternoon, the country’s Meteorological Service said.
It has continued its route towards the south-eastern Indian Ocean and could no longer threaten the island nation.
President Andry Rajoelina plans to visit the prone-areas from Tuesday, the President Press Service said.
Last week, heavy rains that hit the whole country killed four people in north-western and western regions.
In January, one tropical cyclone named Felleng killed five in the capital after one house and one old wall collapsed.
Last year, cyclone Giovanna and tropical storm Irina killed 112 people and affected over 90,000.
Madagascar remains one of the world most vulnerable countries to natural disasters because of lack of adaptation capacity.
“The low level of adaptation is one big issue for our country,” Mr Razafiarison said at the gathering dedicated to the presentation of the nation’s risks and disaster reduction plan on Monday in Antananarivo.
According to the United Nations, one-fourth of the population -- over 5 million individuals -- live in regions at high risks.