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Madagascar

After Batsirai, communities brace for second powerful cyclone

Experiencing one of its worst cyclone seasons in years, Madagascar prepares for a new storm: Emnati, while still recovering from the devastation of Batsirai. Humanity & Inclusion doubles-down on response efforts before it makes landfall.

“This is the most intense cyclone season I have seen since I have been here,” says Vincent Dalonneau, Humanity & Inclusion’s country director in Madagascar.

In late January, the northern areas of Madagascar were hit by powerful Tropical Storm Ana, which caused over 50 deaths and significant damage by winds and flooding. Less than two weeks later, the island was devastated by Cyclone Batsirai, affecting over 143,000 people, destroying nearly 9,000 homes and taking the lives of over 120 people. The country is still struggling to evaluate the extent of damage caused by the powerful storm and meet the needs of communities left with nothing. This week, a Tropical Storm Dumako hit further north, causing significant flooding and impacting 6,000 households.

Despite the devastation that families across Madagascar have already experienced over the course of a month, cyclone season is not over. As thousands remain without homes, electricity, clean water or access to medical services, disasters are expected to continue.

Bracing for Cyclone Emnati

“Now, we are preparing for a big one, called Emnati, which will arrive soon,” Dalonneau explains. “On Feb. 22, it will be near the coast of Madagascar, and it is predicted to take roughly the same path as Batsirai, with the same intensity. They are estimating that it will be a very powerful cyclone, and it is gaining in strength now.” 

In anticipation of Cyclone Batsirai, Humanity & Inclusion prepared hundreds of emergency kits and supplies to distribute to affected families and households in need. After performing extensive evaluations across the impacted regions, kits of kitchen supplies, household items, hygienic essentials and Covid-19 prevention materials were prepared for distribution. With the arrival of Emnati quickly approaching, Humanity & Inclusion teams are expediting efforts to get supplies into the hands of the people who need them most.

“We are already starting to prepare for the storm,” Dalonneau says. “We must not forget the first cyclone, but also prepare for this new one, so it is really complicated. We have to act quickly to distribute our emergency kits between today and Monday, Feb. 21, before Emnati makes landfall, and then move our teams to safety. Our teams are so tired, and are having to prepare for multiple emergencies at once, while living through them. After the cyclone passes, we will assess how the situation has evolved and how we can further support the most vulnerable populations.”

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