At least five children dead and thousands without homes, schools after Cyclone Batsirai hit Madagascar
Five children have died, tens of thousands lost their homes, and up to 10,000 left with no school to attend this week after Cyclone Batsirai tore through Madagascar at the weekend, Save the Children said today.
Cyclone Batsirai, the second major storm to batter the country in just two weeks, made landfall on Saturday night with winds of 165km (103 miles) per hour causing massive destruction to infrastructure including homes and schools.
Five children under 12 are among the 21 reported dead[i]. At least 62,000 people have been displaced[ii], including tens of thousands of children, with the real number feared to be higher as authorities are still assessing the full impact of the storm.
Sixty-nine schools have been completely destroyed, 439 schools partially destroyed and 55 had their roofs blown off, putting schooling out of reach for up to 10,000 children, according to Save the Children.
Save the Children is concerned that southern Africa and the Indian Ocean might have entered a destructive cyclone season that will continue over the coming months, with tropical storm Batsirai coming just a fortnight after Storm Ana made landfall on Madagascar, causing flooding, landslides, and loss of life, as well as forcing 72,000 people from their homes. Storm Ana then swept onto the coast of the main African continent, wreaking havoc. Last week, the aid agency said that these extreme weather events are more frequent and severe due to the climate emergency.
Save the Children’s Programme Director for Madagascar, Tatiana Dasy, said:
“East Madagascar has been hit really badly and authorities and humanitarian groups are still assessing the full impact of the damage. But we know that tens of thousands of children have lost their homes – and as many as 10,000 who were able to go to school last week are without education this week. After two years of being pushed out of schooling due to COVID-19, this is the last thing children need. Save the Children is preparing to respond where needed to support communities that have been devastated by this horrific storm.”
Save the Children is working with the aid agency Humanité et Inclusion, and, as access improves, supplies are being moved ready for distribution to affected communities in the east coast area of Madagascar over the coming days.
We have spokespeople available. For further enquiries please contact:
- Emily Wight, Emily.Wight@savethechildren.org;
- Delfhin Mugo, Delfhin.Mugo@savethechildren.org;
- Our media out of hours (BST) contact is firstname.lastname@example.org / +44(0)7831 650409
[i] According to local media Depeche-taratra.mg
[ii] According to Madagascar’s National Office for Risk and Disaster Management
[iii] According to Madagascar’s National Office for Risk and Disaster Management