Madagascar: Cyclone Ivan Wrecking Havoc.

Tropical Cyclone Ivan has landfalled in the Northeastern region of Madagascar on February, 17th and it is now categorized as a category 4 Hurricane.

(via meteo france)

Even though Madagascar is better prepared for cyclone season, having already taken the blunt of many cyclones (most recently cyclone Fame), the region was still devastated by the shear force of the combination of wind and rain.

Avylavitra reports that because of lines of communications being cut off, 9 people died already on the island of Sainte-Marie [mg] (translated in French here)

“Omaly dia nisy vehivavy niantso maika ny rainy taty Antananarivo nilaza fa nianjeran-javatra ny hotely nisy azy ary dia nirodana ka tototra ao miaraka amin’ny olona valo hafa izy. Ary dia io rainy io kosa nandefa antso vonjy tao amin’ny RNM (Radio National Malagasy). Naverina tao amin’ny Radio io antso io sao mba misy afaka mamonjy azy ireo any an-toerana. Rehefa avy nandefa ny antso tao amin’ny Radio ity raim-pianakaviana dia niverina niantso an-janany tamin’ny telefaonina indray, nefa indrisy fa tsy nisy nandray intsony izay antso rehetra nataony.
Na izahay nihaino ny radio aza dia nangitakitaka sy nientana anaty ihany niandry izay tohin’ity tantara ratsy ity mndra-paharainan’ny andro.
Tapaka daholo ny fifandraisana tany an-teorana taorian’ilay antso nataon’ilay ray mahantra. Eny fa na ny BLU tokony ho nampiasain’ny BNGRC (sampana misahana ny vonjy taitra mandritry ny tranga toy izao) aza dia tsy nandeha. Koa lasa antso tany an-tany efitra ilay filàna vonjy nataony.
Nivoaka tamin’ny gazety rehetra androany maraina fa tapitra maty avokoa ireo olona sivy tototra tao amin’ity hotely tra-doza ity. Indrisy, mampalahelo”

“A young woman in Sainte-Marie urgently called her father in Antananarivo to warn him that she was stuck under the ruins of her hotel along with eight other people.
The father called desperately the National Malagsy Radio (RNM) for urgent help in Sainte-Marie. He then tried to reach his daughter again many times by phone in vain as her daughter would not answer anymore. Listening to the news and waiting for updates on this dreadful situation was very stressful and difficult to bear for most of the listeners on the radio. The poor father was unable to reach the authorities because all the communication lines were cut off, even the office dedicated for emergency relief (le Bureau National de la Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes: BNGRC) was unreachable. That was why the young woman had to call her father who was 400 km away, unable to provide direct help.
The newspapers announced today that all 9 of then were found dead inside the ruins of the hotel.”

Mialisoa gives a thorough summary of the situation as Ivan moves toward the south (Fr):

” La partie Est de Madagascar est fortement touchée: Atsinanana, Analanjirofo, Alaotra Mangoro. Cette dernière avance un bilan provisoire d'un peu moins de 500 sinistrés ce matin, principalement dans le district d'Andasibe à cause de la crue des eaux. Aux dernières nouvelles relayées par la radio nationale grâce à son fameux “Ampitapitao” ( oui, l'émission existe toujours), la route nationale 2 qui joint la capitale à Toamasina est inondée, aucune navette n'est possible […] Le cyclone s'affaiblit mais la pluie persiste. Antananarivo boit la tasse ( comme vache qui pisse, me dit Anselme ) depuis samedi, vers 1h du matin. Aucune éclaircie en vue, la capitale est ses environs passent leur temps entre petite pluie et averses hargneux, coups de vents, coups de froid, boue et flaques. “L'eau monte à vue d'oeil”, me confie un riverain, “pas besoin d'averse, mais rien q'une fine pluie et dès demain, on y est”. Comme quelques uns de ses voisins, il est candidat aux premiers déménagements qui ont commencé depuis samedi soir du côté d'Anosizato.”

The eastern part of Madagascar was severely affected by Ivan: Atsinanana, Analanjirofo, Alaotra Mangoro. The latest update on the provisional toll is of just under 500 homeless this morning, mainly in the district of Andasibe because of the rise of the water. According to the latest news relayed by the national radio thanks to its famous broadcast “Ampitapitao”, many portions of the National Highway number 2, which links the capital city to Toamasina, is underwater and any kind of transportation on it is currently impossible […] the cyclone is weakening, but the rain persists. Antananarivo is soaked up since Saturday, around 1 am. No silver lining in sight, the capital city and its surrounding are caught between light rain, heavy sudden showers, gusty wind blows, sudden drops in temperatures, mud and puddles. “The water is rising before our eyes,” says one of the city commuters, “even a persistent fine rain could be enough to induce major flooding.” Like some of his neighbors, he is a primary candidate for an early displacement, a measure that has alrady begun Saturday evening in Anosizato.

Jandre in Madagascar has more satellite images of Ivan and explains that considering that it takes 3 years for Vanilla to mature, the effects of Ivan are disastrous on many levels.

Tomavana has aslo posted an exhaustive summary (mg) about the recent updates from meteorologists on Cyclone Ivan in Madagascar.
We will update this story and the report from the ground as the story unfolds. We also would like to thank the folks at Rising Voices, Nari Jibon and Voces Bolivianas for their words of support to the people caught in the storm and their valuable advices on keeping the lines of communication open within the country and with the outside world.


  • […] our friends in Madagascar are enduring some serious storms, but that’s not stopping their blogging and photography […]

  • patricia

    A friend of mine has not heard from her brother or sister inlaw since last week. Where is it possible to obtain information?le

  • Hi Patricia,

    I am very sorry to hear about your friend’s relatives. I hope that by the time of this message, you have received some kinf of news. Here is a site that are often updated with informations provided by either people on site or local news.

  • Jacqui

    How frustrating….. My son Nathan and friends Dirk, Gareth and Hannetjie were on St Marie when Cyclone Ivan struk, the reports have been factually incorrect, and unverified, help if that is what its called only arrived on the island today, death tolls figures only speculation, with no raidio / telecommunication links the last 3/4 days have been hell.

    We were able to put our loved ones names on a list started by hoveraid, Nathan was able to contact my husband who has been stranded in Tana since Saturday, with my father,(from South Africa)late yesterday afternoon, but I needed to hear my childs voice for myself, it would take another 24 hours before I got to speak to him….I can sleep well tonight, My husband, child and father are together. I have spoken to my child (he, Dirk, Gareth and Hannetjie)are all fine, I pray your loved ones are returned to you safely, In an act of God Like this we are all equal.

    If your loved ones are on St Marie please let me have their names and where they were staying (hotel) so that I can ask my husband to alert the police on the island, KEEP PRAYING AND HOPING, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • […] also led to conflicting reports that bloggers were quick to point out. We wrote earlier that 9 people were trapped under the ruins of Hotel Antsara in Sainte-Marie and reported dead. This […]

  • […] vaovao nifanipaka izay nomarihin'ireo mpiblaogy tamin'ny fomba haingana. Nambaranay teo aloha fa olona miisa 9 no indray raikitra tao anatin'ny firodanan'ny hotely Anjara tany […]

  • Jacqui,

    We are so glad that your family is safe and sound. Communicating with Sainte-Marie has shown to be very difficult, if not impossible.
    We are grateful for your offering to relay messages to relatives of people who might still be stranded.
    more info are also available here:

  • Arnaud

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been trying to reach very good friends of mine on St Marie these past few days but I couldn’t reach them.
    Even though there are no reported casualties on St Marie, I’m really worried.
    If anyone has got news from the staff at Soanambo Hotel (Philippe and Sophie the managers and all the staff), please let me know.
    And also Eric the taximan, his wife Emeline and their daughter Alicia… they live in Vohilava, just behind Soanambo hotel. They’re my best friends over there in St Marie… I was at their wedding 3 months ago and now I can’t seem to reach them…

  • Jacqui

    Hi Author

    I am in contact with my Husband, Son and Dad on St Marie. Communiction is still limited. I also know Philippe and Sophie, I was informed on Wednesday that stranded tourist were taken to Soanambo Hotel, so I am sure they are fine. To be honest there are deaths reported however not as yet confirmed and mostly from the north, I will be contacting them again today and will ask about the people you mentioned in your email, please bere with me it might take a day or two to find out if Eric and his family are fine. My thoughts and prayers are with you

  • patricia

    We are very gifted with modern technology as your letter to me was followed directly with confirmation of my friends family Gareth and Hannetjie being safe and well
    Many thanks,

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