Madagascar cyclone kills 29 people

A cyclone that swept across Madagascar this week killed 29 people and left nearly 70 000 homeless or otherwise affected, local authorities said on Friday.

Dia Stivanley, spokesperson for the National Office for Management of Risks and Catastrophes (BNGRC), said 12 of the island’s 22 regions had been hit by Cyclone Ivan, a category-three storm, notably the rice-producing area of Alaotra Mangoro, 150km north-east of the capital, Antananarivo.

Nineteen of the 29 deaths occurred in that region and 15 000ha of rice fields were flooded.

Emergency services were hampered by breaks in telephone and road links in some areas, the BNGRC said.

Ivan, with winds gusting up to 230km/h, struck eastern Madagascar on February 17. It was the most destructive yet of the current cyclone season after Fame, which killed 13 people last month. — AFP

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