Madagascar death toll from Cyclone Batsirai rises

The death toll from Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar has risen to 92, as information continues to filter in from areas of the country that were badly affected.

The cyclone slammed into the large Indian Ocean island late on Saturday, knocking down houses and electricity lines as it battered the south-eastern coast until it moved away late on Sunday, leaving 91,000 people with destroyed or damaged homes.

The state disaster relief agency said on Wednesday that 60 of the deaths had occurred in the Ikongo district in south-east Madagascar. The agency said it was still collecting details about what had happened in Ikongo.

A member of parliament representing the district had said previously the death toll there was high, with most victims having drowned or crushed when their houses collapsed.

At least 92 people on Indian Ocean island believed to have died, with thousands left homeless

Batsirai was Madagascar’s second destructive storm in two weeks, after Cyclone Ana killed 55 people and displaced 130,000 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 Programme said Batsirai had made the situation worse by destroying crops of rice, fruits and vegetables that were only two weeks away from harvest.

The cyclone caused widespread flooding and made 12 roads and 14 bridges impassable, cutting off some of the worst affected areas and impeding efforts to bring relief to local communities.

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