U.N. and international aid agencies are making preparations to assist thousands of people in Madagascar ahead of a powerful cyclone that is expected to make landfall on the east coast Saturday.
Two weeks after Tropical Storm Ana struck Madagascar, meteorologists are predicting a more powerful storm will strike the Indian Ocean Island nation.
Clare Nullis, spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization, said experts describe the more powerful Tropical Cyclone Batsirai as “very dangerous.”
“We are already going to see impacts today with very high waves at sea of at least eight meters, up to 15 meters. The wind speeds, as I have said, 200 kilometers an hour. The real threat here, as with many storms, is the rainfall. … Now if this rain falls on grounds, which is already saturated from last week’s rainfall, then obviously that exacerbates the risk of flooding,” she said.
Tropical Storm Ana affected some 131,000 people across Madagascar, according to government officials. At least 58 people were killed and 72,000 displaced from homes that have been damaged, destroyed, or swept away by landslides.
Aid agencies expect the impact of Tropical Cyclone Batsirai to be more devastating. They say about 4.4 million people are at risk across 14 districts in the country. They expect around 600,000 people to be directly affected by the storm, including more than 150,000 who are likely to be displaced.
Jens Laerke, spokesman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the U.N. and humanitarian partners are ramping up preparedness efforts ahead of the storm.
“Our efforts under the government of Madagascar’s leadership include preparing for the pre-deployment of search and rescue capacity and response teams to areas likely to be impacted, aircrafts being placed on standby to support rapid assessment and response, and local purchases of humanitarian supplies to increase available stocks,” he said.
The World Food Program has responded to the emergency by providing the government with an initial infusion of cash, and is distributing relief items such as tents, medicine, food, and hygiene and sanitation equipment.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it is helping 2,000 families affected by Tropical Storm Ana, and is gearing up to assist victims of Batsirai. Priority needs, it said, include blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, water, and sanitation and hygiene kits.your ad here