The death toll from Madagascar’s latest cyclone rose to 29 on Tuesday as residents of a devastated coastal town tried to fix their homes or build temporary shacks from wood and palm fronds scattered by the violent winds.
Cyclone Batsirai slammed into the Indian Ocean island late on Saturday, battering the southeastern coastline until it moved away late on Sunday, leaving 91,000 people with damaged or destroyed homes, according to the state disaster relief agency.
It was Madagascar’s second destructive storm in two weeks, after Cyclone Ana killed 55 people and displaced 130,000 in a different area of the country, further north.
The island nation, which has a population of nearly 30 million, was already struggling with food shortages in the south – a consequence of a severe and prolonged drought. The World Food Program said Batsirai had made the situation worse by destroying crops that were just two weeks from harvest.
Lisa Mara Lang, head of supply chain for Madagascar at the World Food Program, said humanitarian agencies were working alongside the Madagascar authorities to assess the extent of the damage and the needs of the population. She said it would likely take several days for a full picture to emerge.
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