At least 25 confirmed dead and more than 37,000 displaced by Cyclone Cheneso, authorities say. More than two dozen Madagascans have died and tens of thousands have been left homeless since a severe tropical cyclone made landfall last week and swirled for days off the island’s western coast, official records show.

The cyclone season usually runs between November–March in Madagascar. Since mid-January 2022, the country has been impacted by five tropical weather events.

More than two dozen Madagascans have died and tens of thousands have been left homeless since a severe tropical cyclone made landfall last week and swirled for days off the island’s western coast, official records show.

Cyclone Cheneso smashed into north-eastern Madagascar 10 days ago, bringing strong winds and triggering downpours that have caused extensive flooding.

Over the week it tracked south-eastwards, extending damage to houses, and schools and cutting off several national roads.

Twenty-five people are now known to have died and 21 others are still missing, according to an update from Madagascar’s Office for Risk and Disaster Management on Sunday.

At least 83 181 people have been affected, with nearly 38 000 displaced from their homes.

Chenesowhich temporarily intensified to a tropical cyclone in recent days with winds of 118-166 kilometres per hour (73-103 miles per hour) — “has started to lose its purely tropical characteristic,” according to the southwest Indian ocean Regional Specialist Meteorological Centre based in the French overseas island of La Reunion

Storm Cheneso made landfall on January 19, packing winds of up to 110 kilometres per hour. It is the first tropical storm of the current cyclone season in southern Africawhich typically runs from November to Aprilto hit the cyclone-prone large Indian ocean island.

The cyclone season left displaced people in need of health, water, housing, hygiene, and sanitation services, livelihoods, and NFIs. Floods affected about 60,000 hectares of rice fields, which will result in a below-average harvest in May, negatively impacting both the farmers’ livelihoods and food insecurity levels in the country.

About 80% of people in Madagascar depend on agriculture, but their livelihoods have been disrupted because of a severe cyclone season in 2022, which followed two years of extreme drought. Crops that generate profits such as cloves, coffee, and pepper are affected. In some agricultural areas of the affected regions, it is estimated that 90% of crops will likely fail or have a below-average harvest.

Many houses and huts are damaged because of heavy rain, strong wind, floods, and landslides after the impact of the 2022 cyclone season. Displaced people need shelter kits and emergency shelters. Rehabilitation of damaged or destroyed houses is also needed.

Sanitary infrastructure was damaged during the cyclone season. Rehabilitation of water supply systems, hygiene, and sanitation facilities is reportedly needed. Lack of access to clean drinking water will likely put around 50,000 people at health risk, especially IDPs. Purification of contaminated well water is needed.

Displaced people need hot meals and dry food daily. As some rice fields were flooded twice, and many fruit trees were damaged, the prices of some food items are expected to increase and affect people’s access to food.

 

Piers Potter

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