For several years, Madagascar has been the victim of deadly cyclones. The latest, tonight, killed four people. With a new phenomenon: the south-west of the island, formerly spared, is increasingly affected.
Last night, Madagascar suffered the passage of a new cyclone. Expected and dreaded, tropical cyclone Freddy crossed the island. Human toll, according to the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC): four people died. In addition to the numerous material damages. It must be said that the intensity of the cyclone was strong: violent winds, sometimes blowing up to 180 km / h, which caused huge waves that could reach 10 meters in height. What cause the helplessness of the populations of the region of Mananjary, already affected by cyclones just a year ago.
Our teams are on the ground preparing to respond! @WFP plans to distribute hot meals to people sheltered in Mananjary, Manakara, Farafangana,#CycloneFreddy https://t.co/c5ahup9gDm pic.twitter.com/eij9F98Oyq
—WFP Media (@WFP_Media) February 21, 2023
In 2022, five natural disasters in two months
Action Against Hunger recalls that, "in February 2022, cyclones Batsitai and Emnati had caused very heavy damage in the south-east of the island causing floods, population displacements, the destruction of key infrastructures and of dwellings”. The NGO believes that “the large island in the Indian Ocean is bearing the brunt of the consequences of climate change”.
Beyond last night's cyclone - which swept the island from east to west - and those of the past year, Madagascar indeed seems prone to suffering natural disasters: the drought "was the event predominant climate in recent years on the south-west coast of Madagascar", recalls Action against Hunger which indicates that, with cyclones and tropical storms, populations are impacted when they were, until then, "little customary to natural hazards of such intensity".
Last year, it took less than two months for Madagascar to be hit by no less than five natural disasters. These had, cumulatively, caused 200 deaths and nearly 500 victims. Not sparing the west of the country. But what are the new risks that affect this part of the island, once calmer than the east coast?
Impacts on food security
The NGO Action Against Hunger assures that "the rise in the temperature of the surface waters of the Mozambique Channel offers favorable conditions for the emergence of strong tropical storms in the south-western area, exposing the urban and rural population to the risks of cyclones and floods”. We remember the passage, last April, of cyclone Jasmine which caused more than 2 disaster victims.
Natural disasters that have longer-term consequences for local populations: "These climatic phenomena have a considerable impact on the food and nutritional security of populations", deplores Action against Hunger.
After Freddy's passage, however, optimism is in order: the BNGRC indicates that this 2023 hurricane season should be weaker than feared.