Death toll rises in Madagascar cyclone

2012-02-24 19:01
Antananarivo - At least 31 people were killed and 250 000 left homeless after tropical cyclone Giovanna ripped across Madagascar last week, the disaster management agency said on Friday.

The storm knocked out communication with rural parts of the vast island and blocked major roads with felled trees, making it difficult for authorities to assess the extent of the damage from the storm that struck on February 14.

The coastal town of Brickaville, where the storm made landfall, suffered 10 deaths, with another nine in the nearby, but inland town of Moramanga.

The other casualties were recorded in three different parts of the Indian Ocean nation, the national office for disaster and catastrophe management said in a report.

But the agency warned the toll could still rise. Of the 686 communities affected by the storm, contact had been restored with only 169.

So far, 245 people have been reported injured while nearly 250 000 were left homeless after rains and powerful winds swept across the country.

Eight clinics and 24 primary schools were destroyed. Another 424 schools and 39 health centres were flooded or damaged, it said.

Bridges, roads and electrical installations were also damaged, and emergency workers were delivering clean water to hard-hit communities.

The disaster agency said Giovanna was as powerful as tropical cyclone Geralda, which killed 230 people in 1994.

In February 2011, Cyclone Bingiza killed at least 34 people.

Cyclone season in Madagascar runs from November to April.

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