ANTANANARIVO Feb 15 At least 16 people
have been killed this week when a category four cyclone lashed
Madagascar's eastern shores, rescue authorities said on
Some 65 people were injured and about 11,000 people left
homeless after Cyclone Giovanna pummelled the country's eastern
seaboard causing power shutdowns in parts of the island's port
city of Tamatave, rescue officials said.
The eye of the storm had made landfall south of Tamatave and
was now headed towards the Mozambique channel. Rescue officials
said the death toll could rise.
"It is still a provisional toll and it may still change,"
Liva Randrianambinina, a communication officer at the National
Bureau of Risk Management and Disaster, told Reuters.
Madagascar is prone to cyclones and tropical storms,
especially in the rainy season from February to May.
In 2008, Cyclone Ivan smashed Madagascar, killing more than
80 people and leaving over 200,000 homeless.
Madagascar, the world's biggest producer of vanilla, is the
world's fourth largest island at about size of Texas or France.
The island is also one of the world's poorest countries.
The worst of the storm was over by late Tuesday when the
authorities cut off power in the capital Antananarivo, and
ordered drivers to stay off the roads and businesses to shut
their doors as torrential rains persisted.
On Wednesday, electricity remained unstable in Antananarivo,
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the national
office for disaster response and humanitarian agencies are
gearing up to help those affected by cyclone.
"What needs to be done now is a proper assessment so we can
understand the exact dimensions of this natural disaster," said
Dominic Stolarow, UNICEF's emergency coordinator in Madagascar.
(Writing by James Macharia Editing by Maria Golovnina)