Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tropical Cyclone Haruna hits southwestern Madagascar via IRIN: National disaster authorities and aid agencies are struggling to reach remote areas of Madagascar's southwestern coast where thousands of people are thought to have been made homeless by Tropical Cyclone Haruna, which made landfall on 22 February as a powerful category two cyclone.

According to the country's National Disaster Risk Management Office (BNGRC), over 17,000 people have been affected by the storm, with 13 reported deaths and about 1,500 houses destroyed or flooded. Speed boats and traditional boats were mobilized over the weekend to rescue people stranded in trees and on rooftops.

The most affected districts are Morombe and Toliary, where a burst dyke in an area called Fiherenana caused widespread flooding. According to BNGRC, 25,000 people may need to be evacuated as moderate rains are expected to continue over the next few days.

The government, NGOs and UN partners started distributing food aid to 3,000 people in six shelters in Toliary on 24 February. "Today [25 February], we reached another 4,800 people. Our emergency food supplies have come in, so now we can also hand out biscuits and rice, so people can get through the first five days," Willem van Milink, the World Food Programme's (WFP) country representative, told IRIN.

Initial situation assessments by local authorities and humanitarian partners also started on 24 February, but bad weather over the weekend made it impossible to fly over the area. "There is a whole area behind Morombe that we don't know about yet," he said....

Tropical Cyclone Haruna in the Mozambique Channel, via NASA, February 20, 2013

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