“It looked like Hiroshima”: in Madagascar, the shock of the inhabitants after the passage of Batsirai

“There is nothing left.” Henine-tsoa is still in shock. And for good reason, his city, Mananjary, located on the east coast of Madagascar was hit hard by tropical cyclone Batsirai. “There is nothing left, the roof of our house disappeared in no time, in the courtyard the stones were falling, the coconut trees were uprooted”, she testifies at the microphone of Europe 1. “We Hiroshima would have said.” Without electricity or drinking water, the inhabitants do not know where to go, “because there is nothing left, the churches, the schools…” everything has fallen.

At least 10 dead

According to the latest provisional assessment, at least 10 people died during the passage of the cyclone, and nearly 50,000 people had to leave their homes because of the risk of flooding. According to Météo-Madagascar, Batsirai should “go out to sea in the Mozambique Channel at the level of the northern part of Atsimo Andrefana in the afternoon (Sunday) or next night”, after causing floods across the country, destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Batsirai made landfall on Saturday evening in the form of an “intense tropical cyclone”, with winds of 165 km / h, according to Faly Aritiana Fabien, of the National Office of Risk Management.

On Sunday, the cyclone had weakened significantly, with winds averaging 80 km / h and gusts at 110 km / h – significantly less than the peaks of 235 km / h recorded on Saturday evening, according to Météo-Madagascar. The inhabitants had prepared to cope with the means at their disposal, taking refuge in permanent buildings or ballasting their roofs with sandbags.

Towards a major crisis?

According to the World Food Program (WFP), Batsirai could cause “a major crisis” in the former French colony, affecting more than 600,000 people and ultimately displacing up to 150,000. About 4.4 million people in total are at risk in one way or another, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

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