Madagascar + 5 more

Southern Africa: Cyclone Season Flash Update No. 1 (2 February 2022)

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HIGHLIGHTS

• In late-January 2022, the Tropical Storm Ana weather system brought winds, heavy rains, damage and destruction to parts of Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, affecting several hundred thousand people.

• In Madagascar, the Tropical Depression caused by the Tropical Storm Ana weather system made landfall on 22 January, compounding the flooding caused by an Intertropical Convergence Zone around 17 January.

• A new weather system—Tropical Cyclone Batsirai—has formed in the Indian Ocean in recent days and is expected to make landfall on the east coast of Madagascar around 5 February, after passing by Mauritius and Reunion.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

The 2021/2022 cyclone season in the south-west Indian Ocean intensified in January 2022, with Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe all facing damage and destruction from heavy rainfall and flooding.

Tropical Storm Ana

In Madagascar, intense rainfall in January caused flooding, landslides, destruction of infrastructure and loss of life, particularly affecting the country’s capital, Antananarivo, and other areas of Analamanga Region, in the centre of the country. The rains were initially driven by an Intertropical Convergence Zone around 17 January and increased when a Tropical Depression—which subsequently formed Tropical Storm Ana—made landfall in the east of the country on 22 January and exited the other side of the island on 23 January. At least 131,000 people were affected across 7 regions, including 71,000 people who were displaced according to authorities. At least 58 people have died, almost all of them in the capital, where traditional houses collapsed, and others were swept away by landslides. Although people have since begun to return to their homes, the situation may deteriorate again in the coming days with the approach of Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, which is currently projected to make landfall in Madagascar as an Intense Tropical Cyclone on 5 February.

In Mozambique, Tropical Storm Ana made landfall in Angoche district, Nampula province, on 24 February, significantly affecting the provinces of Zambezia, Nampula and Tete. The storm has affected nearly 141,500 people and damaged or destroyed at least 13,670 houses (more than 7,700 of which have been completely destroyed). Essential services have been significantly impacted, with 30 health centres damaged and more than 2,400 classrooms destroyed by the storm, affecting nearly 300,000 students. At least 25 people have died, and 220 were injured, during the devastating floods caused by Tropical Storm Ana. Further details on the situation in Mozambique are available here.

Tropical Storm Ana then passed through southern Malawi, causing heavy rains and flooding, with some weather stations recording more than 300 millimeters (mm) of rainfall within a 24-hour period, including Masambaniati (360mm), Mpemba (344 mm), Supuni in Chikwawa (336 mm) and Chileka (305 mm). More than 110,800 people (22,174 households) have been displaced by the floods and are staying in 122 displacement sites, according to the latest data from the Government of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA). At least 33 people have died, and 158 were injured, while a further 20 people remain missing. The storm caused damage to homes, roads, bridges and other infrastructure (including schools, health centres and churches). The districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje have been hardest-hit, according to satellite imagery analyzed by UNOSAT. The heavy rains also damaged a key power plant, leading to the temporary disruption of power supply across large parts of the country. On 26 January, the President of Malawi declared a State of National Disaster and called for support and assistance for people affected by Tropical Storm Ana.

In Zimbabwe, the passage of the Tropical Storm Ana weather system caused destruction and damage in at least six provinces, with Manicaland Province hardest-hit. At least 3,000 people have been affected by heavy rains and flooding, and schools, bridges and roads were damaged.

Tropical Cyclone Batsirai

Tropical Cyclone Batsirai has intensified and is now moving west/west-south-west at about 19 kilometres an hour (kh/h).

Batsirai is expected to pass by Mauritius at the end of the day today, 2 February, and Reunion tomorrow morning, 3 February, according to the latest forecast from Meteo France. Mauritius is experiencing wind and rains, which are expected to gradually improve tomorrow. Reunion has been on orange alert since 6 a.m. on 2 February, and conditions have begun to deteriorate, with gusts exceeding 100km/h on the coast and 120km/h in the highlands, according to Meteo France.

Batsirai is expected to make landfall on the east coast of Madagascar—likely between Mananjary and Mahanoro districts— as an Intense Tropical Cyclone at the end of this week. All of the eastern coast of Madagascar has been placed on green alert in anticipation of the cyclone’s landfall, which is expected to have a significant impact.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.