Cyclone Enawo death toll rising, heading towards Madagascar capital

2017-03-08 21:58
Trees are lashed by strong winds in Sambava, Madagascar, as heavy rains and strong winds from a cyclone hit northeast Madagascar, raising concerns about flooding and landslides. (AP)

Trees are lashed by strong winds in Sambava, Madagascar, as heavy rains and strong winds from a cyclone hit northeast Madagascar, raising concerns about flooding and landslides. (AP)

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Antananarivo - At least four people have been killed by tropical cyclone Enawo in Madagascar, the prime minister said on Wednesday, as the storm tracked towards the capital Antananarivo threatening severe flooding.

Evacuations were underway in some parts of the city, which was deluged by torrential rains ahead of the cyclone's forecast arrival overnight.

The national meteorology agency issuing a red alert, advising citizens to seek shelter as Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly announced the death toll.

He gave no further details.

According to an AFP correspondent, 500 people were evacuated from the Ampefiloha district in the south of Antananarivo and were taken to a stadium for safety.

The education ministry closed down the city's schools as a precaution and festivities for International Women's Day on Wednesday were cancelled.

Enawo has weakened since making landfall in the rural, remote northeast of Madagascar on Tuesday.

Winds of 65km an hour with gusts of 90km/h  are expected in Antananarivo, according the latest meteorological bulletin.

Videos on social media showed flattened trees, flooded roads and corrugated sheeting ripped from roofs.

Up to 700 000 people could be affected by the cyclone, according to the Red Cross, which has deployed 500 volunteers.

In 2012, tropical storm Irina and tropical cyclone Giovanna claimed more than 100 lives.

The Indian Ocean island has suffered severe drought and food shortages since 2015, with the southern region the worst affected.

Read more on:    madagascar  |  southern africa

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