Madagascar hit by Cyclone Giovanna
Cyclone brings heavy rain and high winds to Madagascar, lashing the towns of Tamatave and Brickaville on the east coast.
Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM
CYCLONE: People cross a flooded road in the Sabotsy Namehana commune, north of Antananarivo, on Tuesday after Cyclone Giovanna hit Madagascar. (Photo: AFP)
At least 10 people were killed when Cyclone Giovanna pounded Madagascar, the disaster management agency said Wednesday, as authorities sought to establish the extent of the damage and casualties.
The storm struck in the early hours of Tuesday, lashing the towns of Tamatave and Brickaville on the east coast, before drenching the capital Antananarivo about 135 miles inland.
By Wednesday morning, the storm had passed over the vast Indian Ocean island nation, leaving two dead in Brickaville and another in the town of Moramanga, 115 kilometres east of the capital, the disaster agency said.
But the toll remained an early guess, after the storm hit 532 communities. Contact had been restored with only 19 of them by Wednesday morning, the agency said.
So far, five injuries were reported and 754 people had suffered losses to their homes, it added.
Fourteen homes were destroyed, and the main highway running northeast from the capital was cut off, while blackouts were reported across the nation.
With sustained winds of 105 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour, the storm tore roofs off houses, damaged buildings and toppled trees.
Antananarivo's streets were mostly empty Wednesday as authorities urged the public to stay indoors.
Cyclone season in Madagascar runs from November to April.
In February 2011, Cyclone Bingiza hit the east coast and crossed the north of the country before turning and crossing the south, killing at least 34 people and affecting some 216,000.
In 2010, tropical storm Hubert killed at least 83 and affected some 187,000.
Madagascar already has a wary eye on another tropical cyclone churning in the Indian Ocean and heading westward, although its exact path remains uncertain and it is still days away from any possible landfall.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition