Tropical Cyclone Batsirai is expected to strike regions on the eastern coast of Madagascar Saturday, only a few weeks after tropical storm Ana wreaked havoc in the country.
“Communities across the Atsinanana region are worried about the potential widespread damage the cyclone could cause. Many families urgently need temporary shelters, especially those whose homes are located in the areas that are likely to be impacted by the cyclone,” said Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, the secretary-general of Madagascar Red Cross.
It is estimated that about 4.4 million people are at risk across 14 districts, with about 595,000 expected to be directly affected and more than 150,000 likely to be displaced.
“We are concerned by the size and projected impact of this intense cyclone. Our immediate response activities will focus on saving lives, and they will include search and rescue operations,” added Ratsimamanga.
Red Cross teams are also working with the government to identify and set up safe buildings which will be utilized as emergency accommodation centers.
With emergency response efforts still ongoing due to the impact of tropical storm Ana that hit Madagascar in late January, the impact of Batsirai could worsen the country’s humanitarian situation. Its emergency response efforts are overstretched, and the situation remains critical due to the impact of the recent widespread flooding, water stagnation and landslides caused by the tropical storm Ana.
At least 55 deaths have been recorded and more than 130,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to temporary shelters or host families in the last few weeks. The country is also still grappling with a prolonged hunger crisis since 2021.