Back-to-back tropical cyclones leave behind devastation in Madagascar

The typhoon season in the southwest Indian Ocean runs from November through April.

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar – Dozens of people are dead, and thousands are displaced after two tropical cyclones in the southwestern Indian Ocean impacted the island nation of Madagascar during a period of less than two weeks.

Cyclone Batsirai was the latest system to make landfall on Friday and had sustained winds of at least 115 mph, making it the equivalent of a major category 3 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

The United Nations reported the wind and rains caused considerable damage to African nation's houses, schools, medical facilities and transportation infrastructure.

Aid groups say they have not been able to reach the hardest-hit areas due to considerable damage to roads and bridges.

According to the U.N., the combination of January’s Tropical Storm Ana and February’s Cyclone Batsirai killed at least 79 people and caused the displacement of more than 130,000.


The National Office for Risks and Disasters Management estimated that upwards of 150,000 additional residents could still be displaced due to the ongoing threat of flooding and landslides.

"The floods and bad weather have not only devastated homes and damaged property, but above all they have destroyed the livelihoods and sources of income of the affected families," Pasqualina Di Sirio, WFP Country Director in Madagascar, said in a statement. "Affected families, currently in a situation of total destitution, will see their living conditions deteriorate in the absence of urgent assistance until their situation returns to normal."

Meteorologists say Madagascar is prone to seeing impacts from tropical systems, but they usually do not happen in such a short amount of time.

Each season, the island nation of around 28 million people is hit by around ten tropical systems, but most usually are weak and result in minor damage.

The typhoon season in the southwest Indian Ocean runs from November through April.