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Cyclone Haruna Kills 23 and leaves 22,000 Homeless in Madagascar

Cyclone Haruna has caused a total of 23 deaths, as well as 16 missing persons, 84 people injured and nearly 22,000 disaster victims, during just one week of February 2013 in Madagascar. These are the sobering statistics according to the National Disaster Management Office of the region, BNGRC [fr]. Despite the scenes of distress and messages from humanitarian organisations requesting urgent help, some feel that solidarity has been slow be felt in the affected region, the South West of Madagascar. Others accuse the capital, Antananarivo, of indifference, however, many agencies and associations in Madagascar and from abroad have rallied round to come to the aid of the region.

Major damage caused by massive gusts of wind combined with flooding

Winds accompanied by lashing rain reached 90 to 110 mph with gusts of up to 125mph destroying a number of buildings and flooding many houses.

 

Inondations après le cyclone Haruna dans la ville de Tulèar - photo de Jan Marc Besse su facebook

Flooding in Tulear, Madagascar, following Cyclone Haruna – photo from Jan Marc Besse via Facebook

Andriamihaja Guénolé, who lives in Tulear, the town pictured above, told of the personal tragedies of the region’s inhabitants [fr] in his blog tulearenvie.mondoblog.org:

J’ai entendu dire que des parents, dans l’espoir de sauver leurs 3 enfants, les ont enfermés dans un placard. Ce dernier a été emporté par les eaux, on n’a plus aucune nouvelle, on ne sait pas si les enfants sont en vie. Une autre mère pas trop chanceuse, est tombée dans un puits avec son bébé dans les bras. Ni l’enfant, ni sa mère n’ont pu être sauvés. Mais on oublie souvent que si une telle catastrophe s’est produit après le passage de la forte tempête tropicale Haruna, c’est parce que des malins s’amusent à voler les gabions  qui longent la digue. Cependant, l’heure n’est pas au moment de désigner des coupables. Il est maintenant impératif de venir en aide aux sinistrés et rebâtir Tuléar.

I heard of parents who, in the hope of saving their 3 children, shut them in a cupboard. This was then carried away by the waters, we have had no news, we don’t know if the children are alive. An other unlucky mother fell into a well with her baby in her arms. Neither the child nor its mother could be saved. But we often forget that if a disaster like this follows the passage of Tropical Storm Haruna, it is because vandals find it amusing to steal the metal structures which are lined up along the seawall. However, this is not the time to point out guilty parties. At this moment, it is imperative to come to the assistance of the victims and rebuild Tulear.

 

Regarding material damage, the BNGRC gave a running total of [fr]:

  • 9,965 homeless
  • 1,120 houses destroyed
  • 6,351 hectares of crop fields flooded

Nianja Ranovelo posted photos showing the impact of the flooding on the BNGRC website:

 

Inondations à Tuléar - Domaine public via The Nation

Flooding in Tulear, Madagscar – Public Domain via The Nation

Executive Secretary of the BNGRC, Raymond Randriatahina, also stated that [fr]:

La ville de Morombe (dans la même région que Tuléar) a été détruite à 70%

The town of Morombe (in the same region as Tulear) has been 70% destroyed.

 

On Facebook, Noeliniayna Randrianarisoa added that there were [fr]:

Chez nous à Ambovombe, onze morts, et 02 portés disparus

Here in Ambovombe, eleven dead and 02 swept away

Here is a video of a road in Tuléar, published by Djedaw on YouTube, which shows the level of flooding in the town:

and another video from TVPlusReplay [mg]:

Solidarity with the region

Many messages of solidarity have been posted on various forums and Facebook pages [fr], some asking how they can help the victims.

Lalah in Antananarivo wrote to her friend in Tuléar [fr]:

De tout cœur avec les gens de Tuléar et une pensée spéciale pour toi mon cher ami Andriamihaja Guénolé

All my heart is with the people of Tulear and special thoughts for you, my dear friend Andriamihaja Guénolé

Lomelle in Mahajanga added [fr]:

Juste en voyant les photos d'après, on a le sang glacé. On est de tout coeur avec vous et j'espère que tu vas bien

Just looking at these photos from afterwards makes the blood run cold. We are with you in our hearts and I hope that you are going to be fine

 

Organisations rallied round to provide help. For example, Vatofototra proposed a collection of donations [fr] for the victims.  The Junior Chamber International, JCI, of Tuléar and Axius have organised distribution [fr] of food and urgently needed items.

Specialised agencies were also quick to react. The Platform for Regional Intervention in the Indian Ocean of the French Red Cross, PIROI, is sending 35 tonnes of relief materials from Reunion Island.

Action Against Hunger, ACF, also published a report on their activities in the region following the cyclone [fr]:

Un avion de 15 tonnes affrété par ACF et parti hier de Lyon arrive aujourd'hui à Madagascar pour apporter en urgence sur le terrain du matériel permettant d'assurer aux populations sinistrées un accès à l'eau potable : plus de 20 réservoirs, station de traitement de l'eau, pompes

A 15 ton plane, loaded by ACF, left Lyon yesterday and arrives in Madagascar today to bring urgently required materials allowing the assurance for the disaster-stricken people of access to drinking water: more than 20 water tanks, water treatment stations, pumps

 

The World Food Programme, WFP, has starting providing emergency food aid [fr] for 7,800 displaced people:

Le PAM distribue environ 40000 paquets de biscuits énergétiques nutritifs ainsi que 23 tonnes de riz, légumineuses et huile enrichie en vitamine A à Toliara

The WFP is distributing around 40,000 packets of nutritious energy bars as well as 23 tons of rice, beans and Vitamin A enriched oil to Toliara

It seems the disaster-struck South West of Madagascar is at last feeling the effects of solidarity.

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