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Cyclone Emnati: Madagascar’s nightmare continues


Madagascar prepares for another intense tropical cyclone, Emnati, to make landfall Tuesday. HI accompanies targeted communities in their preparations and recovery.

After cyclone Batsirai and before the arrival of cyclone Emnati, HI teams distribute emergency kits to affected communities and persons with disability

After cyclone Batsirai and before the arrival of cyclone Emnati, HI teams distribute emergency kits to affected communities and persons with disability | © HI

500,000 people threatened - again 

 With winds of over 100 mph, cyclone Emnati is currently heading toward the coast of Madagascar, threatening a population of around 500,000 people, just over two weeks after cyclone Batsirai ravaged the island. The new intense tropical cyclone is expected to make landfall Tuesday, February 22nd south of Mananjary, a region still in ruins by the passage of the recent storm.

“People are exhausted, both physically and emotionally,” says Vincent Dalonneau, HI director in Madagascar. “They are living through a nightmare that won’t seem to end.”

Projections show that Emnati will likely follow a similar course to that of cyclone Batsirai, putting incredibly vulnerable communities and families back on the front lines of catastrophe as they are still recovering from the most recent disaster.

“The forecast says that this storm will be the same intensity as Batsirai,Satellite image of cyclone Emnati approaching Madagascar. © Cyclocanesays Livah Rabearison, HI area manager in Madagascar. “That is the biggest fear right now: that it will follow the same path as Batsirai, hitting the same already weakened areas.”

Cyclone Emnati will be the fourth tropical storm to hit Madagascar in the past month. A mere 16 days ago, the category 4 cyclone Batsirai flattened thousands of homes with harsh winds, flooded entire villages, destroyed schools and hospitals, and took the lives of over 120 individuals. More than 140,000 people were impacted. Many remain without reliable access to food, clean drinking water, electricity or shelter as they now prepare for another storm predicted to be equally as devastating.

“Families that had just returned home are once again forced to flee and seek safety,” Livah says. “With roads and transportation options still damaged, evacuation to secure shelters may be even more difficult this time, notably for people with limited mobility and elderly people. Buildings that remained standing after the first cyclone are at much greater risk of falling in their weakened state, and families who had just begun to rebuild what was left of their homes will have to start all over again from nothing...

HI accompanies preparation and recovery

HI has been actively responding to communities impacted by cyclone Batsirai, many of whom will be subjected to cyclone Emnati as well. Leading up to the storm, HI has been working day and night assisting vulnerable populations by implementing emergency family plans, supporting accessible evacuation shelters, and distributing essential supply kits[1] to affected areas (including blankets, mosquito nets, cooking supplies, covid prevention materials, basic hygiene kits and drinking water) before Emnati makes landfall. Between February 19 and 20, HI’s activities supported over 200 persons with disabilities in the Mahanoro and Manakara regions.

HI has also supported some households described as particularly vulnerable after the first cyclone by providing cash transfers to help finance immediate needs and essential expenses.

Once cyclone Emnati has passed and security restrictions are lifted, the emergency response is scheduled to continue in the regions of Farafangana and Vondrozo.

[1] In partnership with Save the Children and the European Union

Date published: 02/21/22


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