Cyclone Freddy Hit Madagascar Killing At Least 1 Person

Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit the eastern coast of Madagascar on Tuesday, killing at least one person as it moved in packing winds of around 130km per hour, officials said.

According to the country’s National Risk Management Office (BNGRC), a 27-year-old man drowned near the port of Mahanoro, to the north of Mananjary before the storm made landfall.

The storm made landfall at around 16:20 GMT, the BNGRC in a statement seen by News24

But a BNGRC senior official Faly Aritiana Fabien told AFP that it remains “one of the strongest cyclones” to hit the large Indian Ocean island.

The storm landed north of Mananjary, a coastal town of 25 000 people that remains devastated by last year’s Cyclone Batsirai, which killed more than 130 people across the country.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said more than 2.3 million people in Madagascar could be affected by Freddy, and the cyclone would then pass through Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the African mainland.

Authorities said the island nation, which is accustomed to cyclones and tropical storms, had put measures in place to minimise the loss of lives.

Several regions suspended school classes on Tuesday for the rest of the week, according to the national education ministry. In total, schools in four out of the six provinces have closed.

At least 8 000 people were preventatively evacuated in the Mananjary district.

The large Indian Ocean island of Madagascar typically takes several hits during the annual November-April storm season.

Freddy is the first cyclone, and the second tropical weather system, to hit during the current season, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Freddy passed around 190 km off the coast of the Reunion Island and Mauritius on Monday night without causing major damage.

Last month a powerful storm named Cheneso hit northeastern Madagascar bringing heavy winds and triggering downpours that caused extensive flooding and killed at least 33 people after affecting more than 90 000.

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