Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cyclone hits as evaluation team visits Madagascar

Dennis McClean in the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction: For the second year in a row, Valentine's Day on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has been marked by the arrival of a tropical cyclone. Cyclone Giovanna made landfall on the east coast shortly after midnight, bringing torrential rain and reported wind speeds of up to 231 km per hour.

One death has been reported so far in Brickaville where unconfirmed reports indicate severe damage to the local hospital and many people rendered homeless. In the capital, Antananarivo, power has been cut off and drivers ordered to stay off the roads.

Last year, Cyclone Bingiza also hit the island on February 14, and killed 14 people and destroyed nearly 6,000 homes over the course of five days. Schools for over 7,000 children were damaged.

The imminent arrival of Cyclone Giovanna injected an unusual dose of reality into the work of an evaluation team from the UK's York University which arrived on the island a week ago to assess the impact of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education's Disaster Risk Reduction, Preparedness and Response programme.

Yesterday, Dr. Sean Deely, Deputy Director of York University's Postwar Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) was at a school in Analangirofo, close to where the cyclone was expected to make landfall and said: "It was amazing to see the kids preparing for the cyclone and the extent of their knowledge."...

Intense Tropical Cyclone Giovanna approaching Madagascar on February 13, 2012

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