Cyclone Batsirai plowed into Madagascar on Saturday, with strong winds and heavy rains. The cyclone left a trail of destruction, and brought serious new problems to Madagascar, which is still struggling after being pounded by Tropical Storm Ana two weeks ago.
With wind speeds as fast as 102 mph (165 kph), Batsirai hit land late on Saturday near Mananjary. Waves as high as 49 feet (15 meters) were expected. The storm brought heavy rains with it, causing serious flooding.
Batsirai tore up trees and knocked down power lines. The lack of electricity made it hard to communicate with the affected areas.
The storm has left at least 92 people dead. Over 112,000 people have been forced from their homes. Many are living in temporary shelters. Over 7,500 homes have been destroyed and nearly as many were flooded.
The damage was very severe in the Ikongo district. A government worker representing the district said, “Most of the houses are made of earth, and when there are floods, the houses become like mud and they collapse.” The roads to some hard-hit areas are still flooded, making it hard to bring help to those who need it the most.
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Large areas of Madagascar were still flooded from Tropical Storm Ana, which hit roughly two weeks before. The situation is now even more serious. The storms have left many people without drinking water and other basic things they need. The cyclone also wiped out crops that were nearly ready to be picked, which could lead to food shortages.
Madagascar’s government is working to help. The United Nations groups UNICEF and the World Food Program are also helping out.
Did You Know…?
Madagascar has been suffering from a drought, which dries the ground out. The hard, dry ground makes flooding more likely and more serious.
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