By Victoria Zimmerman
Tropical cyclone Cheneso hit Madagascar on January 19th with winds of up to 110 kmph (68.3mph), which displaced tens of thousands and killed close to 30 people. Over the last decade, Madagascar has experienced high rates of displacement due to climate vulnerabilities that have manifested into severe storms.
According to Madagascar’s Office for Risk and Disaster Management, the cyclone hit northwestern Madagascar first, but has moved further south over the past ten days. At least 25 deaths have been reported, but 21 Madagascans are still missing.
Last year, Madagascar was hit by 4 major storms, killing at least 138 people, destroying 124,000 homes and displacing about 130,000 people.
According to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, there are more than 34,100 temporarily displaced people and the number of those affected has reached 90,870.
About 27,000 houses, 10 health centers, and about 150 schools have been destroyed by flooding, strong winds and landslides as a result of the cyclone. Flood survivor Bonne Fehy said, "I left my house because it was destroyed by the strong winds of the cyclone. The house tilted, so I ran away. My house was totally destroyed.”
Although this is just one quote, thousands of Madagascans have experienced similar destruction and trauma.
The director of the Boeny region, Ministry of Population and Social Affairs Olga Rasoanirina said “We have housed people since Sunday when there were big storms. We have housed people in this site, which is a public elementary school in the neighborhood, we have set up shelters for the victims and we have also distributed meals.”
As the storm moves out of Madagascar, it is vital that greater aid and assistance is sent over to the country. Information around the situation is ongoing as new reports come in, but overall, people are continuing to be affected by the cyclone, so it is important that the international community provides its assistance and support to Madagascar.