Home LATEST NEWS Cyclone Batsirai, “very serious threat”, approaches Madagascar

Cyclone Batsirai, “very serious threat”, approaches Madagascar


After pouring torrential rains for two days on the French island of Reunion, the cyclone was on Saturday at 01:50 GMT some 250 km from the east coast of Madagascar, according to Météo France.

It should land between late afternoon and Saturday evening between Masomeloka and Mananjary, near Nosy-Varikaat the intense tropical cyclone stage, thus presenting a very serious threat to the areawarns the forecasting body in its Saturday morning bulletin.

Winds are expectedeven 250km/h in gusts at the point of impact”,”text”:”over 200 or even 250km/h in gusts at the point of impact”}}”>at more than 200 or even 250 km/h in gusts at the point of impact, reports Meteo France. The waves can reach 10 to 15 meters and the heavy rains will then be able to extend over part of the southern half of Madagascar.

The island, already hit by tropical storm Ana in January, was swept away on Friday by the wind and continuous rain.

Ana, which had also affected Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, had killed a hundred people – including 56 in Madagascar – and tens of thousands of victims. The impact of Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar is expected to be considerableincluding in areas still recovering from storm Ana, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke, warned on Friday.

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major crisis

The director of the World Food Program (WFP) for Madagascar, Pasqualina Di Sirio, said she anticipates a major crisis on the big island, where the cyclone could affect more than 600,000 people, including 150,000 displaced.

Search and rescue teams have been placed on alert, stocks of supplies have been prepared and planes are ready to intervene in support of the humanitarian response.

Razafimahefa Etienne, a farmer from Madagascar, is already worried about food. The family will have enough to last until Saturday. But from Sunday, we will have nothing. We will try to find another solution, but if there is nothing, we will eat bananashe said.

A man on a rock near a beached boat hit by a wave.

Cyclone Batsirai during its passage through Reunion Island had stranded an oil tanker

Photo: afp via getty images / RICHARD BOUHET

Sitting at the top of his house, Tsarafidy Ben Ali, a 23-year-old coal seller, weights the corrugated iron sheets of the roof with bags filled with soil from his garden. The gusts of wind will be very strong. That’s why we reinforce the roofshe explains to theFrance Media Agency.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) estimates that around 4.4 million people in total are at risk in one way or another.

Malagasy Red Cross teams and partners are on alert and deployed to communities to warn them of the approaching storm, while emergency stocks are moved to facilitate accessexplained its secretary general Andoniaina Ratsimamanga.

The teams are also trying with the government to set up emergency shelters. Each year during the hurricane season (from November to April), about ten storms or cyclones cross the south-west of the Indian Ocean, from east to west.

Cyclone Batsirai moved away from the coast of the French island of Reunion, where the cyclonic red alert, requiring residents to barricade themselves, was lifted on Friday. Twelve injuries were reported.

Thirty rescuers rescued eleven sailors – Indian and Bangladeshi – from the Mauritian oil tanker Tresta Star stranded in the south of the island during the night from Thursday to Friday, an operation perilous, very technical and unprecedented conducted in very unfavorable weather conditionsaccording to the authorities.

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