Cyclone Batsirai, the second severe storm in so many weeks, is tearing roofs off homes and causing widespread flooding.
At least 10 people have been killed and nearly 48,000 forced out of their homes after cyclone Batsirai hit Madagascar overnight, according to the island’s disaster and risk management office.
The agency reported the deaths in a bulletin late Sunday while state radio said some died when their home in the town of Ambalavao, about 460 km (286 miles) south of the capital Antananarivo, collapsed.
It was the second major storm to hit the poor Indian island nation within two weeks.
The cyclone made landfall in Mananjary, with winds of 165 kilometers (103 miles) per hour, uprooting trees, destroying buildings and forcing residents to weigh down thin corrugated iron roofs along the road.
“Mananjary has been completely destroyed, no matter where you go, everything has been destroyed,” one resident named Faby told AFP news agency.
Willy Raharijaona, technical adviser to the vice president of Madagascar’s Senate, said some parts of the southeast were cut off by flooding from the surrounding areas.
“It is as if we have just been bombed. “The city of Nosy Varika was almost 95 percent destroyed,” he told Reuters news agency. “The solid houses saw their roofs torn off by the wind. The wooden huts were largely destroyed. “
The Meteo-France weather service had earlier predicted that Batsirai would pose a “very serious threat” to Madagascar after overtaking Mauritius and drowning the French island of La Reunion with torrential rain.
About 10,000 people on La Reunion were still without electricity on Sunday, three days after the tropical cyclone passed through the island and injured 12 people on its way.
Tropical storm Ana affected at least 131,000 people across Madagascar at the end of January, with nearly 60 people dead, mostly in the capital Antananarivo.
Ana also hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and caused dozens of deaths.
Meteo Madagascar, the national meteorological office, said Batsirai weakened as it traversed the country and halved the average wind speed.
At a cemetery in the eastern village of Mahanoro, which overlooks the sea, Marie Viviane Rasoanandrasana sat on the ground and looked at the bodies of her husband, father-in-law and daughter.
The waves of the rising sea eroded the sandy hill that was part of a cemetery. Several graves were torn open, exposing their bodies and some others.
“A few days ago the sea was far away, but this morning I was told the waves had washed away part of the cemetery,” the 54-year-old widow said.
“Daily life is already very difficult,” she said, adding the family will be forced to reburial the remains in a temporary grave until they have raised enough money for a “proper burial”.