Cyclone in Madagascar killed tens, displaced tens of thousands | Weather news

At least 25 confirmed dead and more than 37,000 displaced by Cyclone Cheneso, authorities say.

More than two dozen Madagascans have died and tens of thousands have been left homeless since a powerful tropical cyclone made landfall last week and swirled along the island’s west coast for days, official figures show.

Cyclone Cheneso slammed into northeastern Madagascar 10 days ago, bringing strong winds and torrential downpours that caused widespread flooding.

It moved southeast during the week, causing damage to homes and schools and cutting several state roads.

25 people are now known to have died and 21 people are still missing, according to a Sunday update from Madagascar’s Office of Risk and Disaster Management.

At least 83,181 people were affected and almost 38,000 were displaced from their homes.

More than 23,600 homes were flooded and at least 500 were completely destroyed, the disaster management office said in a previous update on Friday evening.

Floods in Madagascar
Cyclone Cheneso hit northeastern Madagascar 10 days ago [Alexander Joe/AP Photo]

Cheneso – which has temporarily strengthened to a tropical cyclone with winds of 118-166 km per hour (73-103 mph) in recent days – “has begun to lose its purely tropical characteristics,” according to the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the Southwest Indian Ocean based on the French overseas island of La Reunion.

Cheneso made landfall on January 19, packing winds of up to 110 km/h (68.3 mph).

It is the first tropical storm of the current southern African cyclone season – which usually runs from November to April – to hit a major cyclone-prone island in the Indian Ocean.

In recent years, Madagascar and Mozambique have repeatedly been hit by strong storms and cyclones that have destroyed homes, infrastructure and crops and displaced large numbers of people.

In January and February last year, four major storms hit Madagascar, killing at least 138 people, destroying 124,000 homes and displacing around 130,000 people.

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