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At Least 18 Dead, Thousands Displaced As Tropical Cyclone Causes Devastation in Madagascar

A cyclone has led to extensive flooding in Madagascar, submerging entire villages partially and affecting around 47,000 people.

A tropical cyclone that swept across Madagascar has resulted in the death of at least 18 individuals and left four others missing after making landfall on the northern part of the Indian Ocean island earlier this week, authorities reported on Friday.

The cyclone has led to extensive flooding, submerging entire villages partially, displacing or affecting around 47,000 people, and triggering landslides that caused injuries to three individuals, as stated by the National Office for Disaster Management. The body also stated that the cyclone was moving with average winds of 150 km per hour and gusts of 210 km per hour. The cyclone red alert was lifted on Thursday morning.

Aerial footage showed waterlogged settlements, as people tried to rescue residents from their flooded homes.

Cyclone Gamane struck northern Madagascar on Wednesday, and has now weakened considerably, leaving significant devastation in its wake.

In the Diana and Sava regions of the north, infrastructure such as bridges and roads were washed away, while residences and rice fields were submerged. Villagers resorted to using canoes to navigate flooded areas, assisting those stranded in submerged homes as water levels nearly reached the rooftops of certain structures.

Madagascar has experienced at least 10 powerful tropical cyclones since the beginning of 2022, and is facing a hunger crisis in some parts of the island due to the adverse effects of extreme weather, according to the World Food Program.

The United Nations highlighted that Madagascar has faced an unprecedented number of cyclones in the past two years, alongside enduring its worst drought in four decades in the southern region. It ranks among the countries most vulnerable to climate change and has one of the highest poverty rates, according to the World Bank.

Last month four people were killed when cyclone Freddy ravaged the island nation leaving behind massive destruction. Several houses were swept up by the cyclone, while more than 16,600 Malagasy were affected, with some 4,500 houses flooded or damaged.

Melissa Enoch

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