Madagascar: Cyclone Enawo Situation Report No. 1 (9 March 2017)

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Cyclone Enawo is wreaking havoc across Madagascar: towns and cities flooded; houses, schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure destroyed; and thousands of people displaced. Power outages are widespread in affected areas.

More than 760,000 people in nine regions are expected to be directly affected by the strongest cyclone to strike the island nation in 13 years. Conditions are comparable to Cyclone Gafilo in 2004, which left 250,000 Malagasies displaced and 100,000 homes damaged in its wake. Another recent major tropical storm, Cyclone Ivan, affected more than half a million people and displaced nearly 200,000 in 2008.

According to the national meteorological authority, threat levels remain highest (Red Alert) in the following regions: Diana, Sofia, Savan Analanjirofo, Atsinanana, Alaotra Mangoro, Boeny, Betsinoka, and Ny Faritanin’ Antananarivo.

Madagascar also suffers from severe and chronic drought, particularly in the south of country. More than 850,000 people are severely food insecure.


Intense Tropical Cyclone Enawo struck northeastern Madagascar on the morning of March 7, travelling at two to three hundred kilometers per hour. On March 8, Enawo weakened from an “intense” to a “moderate” tropical storm, with an average speed of 80km/hour with peaks of 112km/hour.

As Enawo moves further inland, the Government’s disaster management agency (BNGRC), the United Nations and NGOs are evacuating affected populations, passing on life-saving information to affected communities and responding to growing humanitarian needs.

Many whose homes have been flooded or destroyed are staying with relatives in more secure areas, while thousands of IDPs are sheltering in schools, churches and gymnasiums.

Heavy winds, floods and landslides have wounded seven people and killed five so far. The extent of the damage is as yet unknown due to poor communication and difficulty reaching affected areas.

The northeastern Sava region has sustained significant damage to housing and agriculture. Antalaha port is inaccessible and more than half of the city’s homes have been destroyed, with northern areas particularly affected. Farahalana commune is flooded by Lohoko River, with half of all housing under water. Farms along the famous Vanilla Coast have been hard hit, while ricefields in Antalaha and Sambava are submerged.

Carcasses of migratory birds have washed up on the shores of Fenerive Est in the Analanjirofo region, where more than 10,000 people are displaced. Two school buildings have collapsed, an airport road blocked, and more than 500 houses flooded in the districts of Mananara Nord, Maroantsetra,
Vavatenina and Soanierana Ivongo. Flood waters in Maroantsetra have attained a height of four metres.

The Malagasy Red Cross reports that evacuations are underway in the flood-affected cities of Brickaville and Toamasina I & II in Antsinanana region.

At midday local time on Wednesday, the eye of the cyclone was situated in the Tsaratanana district in Betsiboka region, and was moving South-Southwest, approaching the capital Antananarivo. Flooding and water stagnation for days on end in Antananarivo, where more than a million people live, could lead to outbreaks of life-threatening waterborne diseases.

The northern most Diana region is also at risk of flooding if rains continue.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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