Madagascar Authorities Confirm 18 Deaths, Massive Displacement After Cyclone Gamane Hits

Madagascar Authorities Confirm 18 Deaths, Massive Displacement
Madagascar gendarmes confirm killing 19 people, shooting into angry mob |

Madagascar Authorities Confirm 18 Deaths, Massive Displacement After Cyclone Gamane Hits

A tropical cyclone that swept across Madagascar this week has resulted in the deaths of at least 18 people and displaced thousands more, according to the country’s disaster management office. Tropical Cyclone Gamane, which traversed the northeast of Madagascar on Wednesday and Thursday, displaced over 20,000 individuals, with three others injured and four still missing, as reported by the National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC).

Gamane made landfall north of Vohémar in northeast Madagascar on Wednesday morning, accompanied by average winds of 150 km per hour and gusts reaching up to 210 km per hour, as stated by the BNGRC late on Thursday. Although the cyclone slowly dissipated on Thursday afternoon while still over land, it caused heavy rainfall and flooding in numerous areas, leading to the collapse of roads and bridges in the north of Madagascar, according to the disaster management office.

Photographs shared on the disaster management office’s Facebook page depicted personnel wading through knee-deep water as they assisted residents in retrieving belongings from their flooded homes. Gamane marks the beginning of Madagascar’s cyclone and storm season for the year.

In the previous year, cyclone Freddy and tropical storm Cheneso claimed the lives of at least 37 people and displaced thousands from their homes.

Gamane’s impact serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of Madagascar to extreme weather events, particularly cyclones. With its location in the southwestern Indian Ocean, Madagascar is frequently exposed to tropical cyclones during the cyclone season, which typically runs from November to April.

The devastation caused by Gamane underscores the urgent need for effective disaster preparedness and response measures in Madagascar. The country’s disaster management authorities play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of such natural disasters by providing timely warnings, coordinating evacuation efforts, and delivering aid to affected communities.

In the aftermath of the cyclone, the focus will likely shift towards assessing the extent of the damage, restoring essential services, and providing assistance to those affected. Rebuilding infrastructure, repairing damaged homes, and addressing the immediate needs of displaced individuals will be among the top priorities for the authorities and humanitarian organizations involved in the response efforts.

Furthermore, lessons learned from Cyclone Gamane will inform future disaster risk reduction strategies, with an emphasis on enhancing resilience and adaptive capacity at both the community and national levels. This may involve investments in early warning systems, infrastructure resilience, and community-based disaster preparedness initiatives to better withstand the impact of future cyclones and storms.

As Madagascar continues to grapple with the aftermath of Cyclone Gamane, the international community stands ready to offer support and assistance to help the country recover and rebuild. By working together and implementing comprehensive disaster risk management measures, Madagascar can better protect its population and reduce the impact of future natural disasters.

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