Madagascar’s death toll from Cyclone Batsirai rises to 92

This Maxar satellite image taken and released on February 7, 2022 shows an overview of Mananjary, Madagascar, after the passage of Cyclone Batsirai. - Cyclone Batsirai swept out of Madagascar on February 7 after killing 21 people, displacing 70,000 and devastating the drought-hit island's agricultural heartland, leading the UN to warn of a worsening humanitarian crisis. (Photo by Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - THE WATERMARK MAY NOT BE REMOVED/CROPPED / THE WATERMARK MAY NOT BE REMOVED/CROPPED
This Maxar satellite image taken and released on February 7, 2022 shows an overview of Mananjary, Madagascar, after the passage of Cyclone Batsirai. (Photo via AFP)

The toll of Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar has risen to 92 deaths and more than 112,000 people displaced by the tropical storm which rampaged across the island earlier this week, the national disaster management office announced Wednesday.

Among the deaths, 71 people died in Ikongo district about 530 kilometers (330 miles) south of Antananarivo, the capital, said officials.

“Most of the houses are made of earth and when there are floods, the houses become like mud and they collapse,” Ikongo district deputy Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa said. “They collapsed on people and became like tombs for people who were asleep.”

The rural district remains completely isolated because landslides have blocked road access, he said.

“The inhabitants need help,” Razafintsiandraofa said.

After gaining strength as it moved across the Indian Ocean, Cyclone Batsirai landed on Madagascar’s east coast late Saturday near the town of Mananjary with winds of 165 kilometers (102 miles) per hour and peaks of 235 kilometers (146 miles) per hour, according to the national weather department. Heavy rains caused flooding and significant damage to homes and infrastructure.

At least 7,500 homes were destroyed and another 7,000 flooded by the cyclone which weakened as it moved southeast across the island and then dispersed.