ANTANANARIVO Madagascar has started evacuating thousands of people from flooded areas after storm waters broke dykes as the country reeled from the impact of Cyclone Enawo.
Enawo hit Madagascar’s vanilla-producing northeastern coast on Tuesday morning, destroying roads and cutting off communications with Antalaha district, which has a population of 230,000 people.
Five people were confirmed killed and seven injured late on Wednesday, while an estimated 10,000 have been displaced by what was one of Madagascar’s worst storms in years.
By Thursday, the cyclone’s power had “significantly weakened” according to a bulletin from the country’s meteorological office, with the storm moving at speeds of 45-50 kph.
The meteorological office said Enawo was 340 km (210 miles) south of the capital Antananarivo early on Thursday.
Ndranto Rakotonanahary, a government official in the Analamanga region, told reporters on Thursday that storm waters had made “a small break in the dykes at Imamba and Sisaony (rivers) and some people have been displaced”.
He said technicians from the country’s disaster management department “are on the ground to evacuate people”.
Another official in the Fokontany region said the cyclone had triggered landslides and residents there were also being evacuated.
A statement from the presidency on released Thursday evening said speedboats had been dispatched to help with evacuations in parts of the capital where dykes had been breached.
An estimated 52,000 people were displaced or had their property damaged by Enawo while distribution of rice, corn and baby food had been begun in parts of Antananarivo, the statement added.
Officials have said a full assessment of the scale of Enawo’s destruction was still under way.
(Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa and Alison Williams)