Madagascar: Cyclone kills at least 20

from IRIN
Published on 13 May 2003
JOHANNESBURG, 13 May (IRIN) - At least 20 people have died and thousands have been affected by tropical cyclone Manou which battered Madagascar's east coast last week.
An aerial survey found the village of Vatomandry, south of the port of Toamasina, was severely hit, with houses damaged and the community's agricultural fields flooded, World Food Programme (WFP) spokeswoman Annmarie Isler told IRIN on Tuesday.

Although the weather bureau had warned residents to prepare for a moderate tropical storm, average winds reached 150km/h with gusts as strong as 210km/h when the cyclone struck.

Rice crops were damaged and the high salt content of the violent winds burnt cash crops like coffee, litchis and cloves.

"Homes have been damaged and people's food stocks have gone because their food stores were damaged. Schools and hospitals have also been damaged," Isler said.

Some parts of the road from Vatomandry are blocked by landslides and collapsed bridges. A downed bridge near the town of Ilaka has left one community cut off from outside supplies with only one week of food stocks left. "The main problem now is road access."

She said WFP, with CARE International, would provide food from a disaster mitigation initiative for a food-for-work programme to repair the roads.

Meanwhile, teams are assessing the full extent of the damage to determine what other help is needed and whether the food-for-work programmes need to be extended.

The government has appealed for help in the form of medicines, water treatment kits, blankets and clothes.


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