Madagascar: Powerful Cyclone Freddy Makes Landfall On Madagascar

ForAfrika’s Mozambican staff work to alleviate devastation caused by Cyclone Freddy.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy made landfall on Madagascar Tuesday evening, killing at least one person as it brought massive storm surges and wind gusts of up to 180 kilometers per hour that ripped roofs off houses.

The storm made landfall at around 7:20 pm local time on the east coast, and the country's National Risk Management Office (BNGRC) has called it one of the strongest cyclones to hit the island, even though it has since weakened.

A 27-year-old man drowned near the port of Mahanoro before the storm made landfall 30 kilometres north of the town of Mananjary.

The coastal town of 25,000 people remains devastated by last year's Cyclone Batsirai, which killed more than 130 people across the country.

At least 8,000 people were preventatively evacuated from the Mananjary district, and Malagasy authorities said the island, which is hit by an average of 1.5 cyclones each year, has put measures in place to minimise loss of lives from Freddy.

The UN's World Food Programme warned more than 2.3 million people in Madagascar could be affected by Freddy, the first cyclone to hit during the current season.

Last month the island was battered by a powerful storm, Cheneso, whose strong winds and downpours that caused extensive flooding killed at least 33 people and affected more than 90,000.

After crossing Madagascar, Freddy could emerge in the Mozambican Channel and strengthen again before making landfall in Mozambique, and potentially hit Zimbabwe.

Authorities in Mauritius on Tuesday lifted a cyclone warning after Freddy passed around 190 kilometres off its coast on Monday night without causing major damage - but monitors warned of continuing powerful winds and heavy rain, monitors said.

(with newswires)

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