Cyclone Ivan kills 22 in Madagascar

Cyclone Ivan killed at least 22 people on Madagascar this week and the death toll is expected to rise, government officials said on Thursday.

Ivan, one of the largest cyclones to hit Madagascar, was packing winds of more than 200km/h when it hit the Indian Ocean island’s east coast earlier this week. It is also expected to bring heavy rains to flood-stricken Mozambique.

The administrator of Madagascar’s Mangoro Alaotra region said it had been possible to identify 20 of 22 people killed.

“Eight of the victims were washed away, another 11 are victims of a collapsed house,” David Alexander Robinson said, without giving details of how the others died. The National Office of Disasters said the toll was expected to rise.

About 5 000 people in Madagascar are still in need of aid as a result of another cyclone, Fame, that hit the storm-prone island in late January and killed at least 12 people.
Madagascar’s rainy season lasts from February to May.

Last year, six cyclones hit the island, killing at least 150 people.

In Mozambique, Ivan is expected to worsen flooding that has already engulfed parts of the Southern African country.

Flooding has forced thousands of villagers from their homes in Mozambique in recent weeks.

Scientists say rising sea temperatures linked to climate change are likely to increase the frequency and intensity of cyclones in the tropics over the coming decades, and some suspect they have already. - Reuters

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