Five dead in Madagascar cyclone

2012-02-15 12:57
Antananarivo - At least five people have died and 10 are missing after cyclone Giovanna struck Madagascar, National Disaster Management Office officials said on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people were homeless following the category 4 storm, and the number was expected to rise as further assessments are made in remote areas.

Houses, often made of just bamboo and wood, were washed away in floods or blown down in winds which exceeded 200km per hour.

In some areas of the Indian Ocean island - the fourth largest in the world - more than 50% of homes were either destroyed or damaged.

The capital Antananarivo suffered heavy damage to power lines, and many shops were closed, as a clean-up process began. Schools across the country remained shut. At least 16 people were hospitalized for injuries sustained during the chaos.

"If we look at the strength of the storm and the fact that the area in which it hit is one of the most densely populated in Madagascar, we expect around 100 000 people to be affected by wind damage and flooding," said John Uniack Davis, the director of aid group CARE in the country.

"The numbers of injured and dead will presumably grow in the coming days," Davis said in a statement.

The United Nations said it was assessing the situation and would transport humanitarian aid to those in need.

Mozambique, on the south-eastern coast of Africa, was also on alert as weather forecasts predicted the storm would soon hit the country.

Read more on:    madagascar  |  weather  |  southern africa

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