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Madagascar: After the storm Ivan, the aftermath

ivan4
ivan flood
( photo via GAZETY_ADALADALA)

Tropical Cyclone Ivan has now left Madagascar leaving behind several regions in shambles and thousands of people without homes.
The official account by the authorities reports 2 deaths and 15,000 people without homes. Considering that Ivan was classified as a very severe cyclonic storm with winds at up to 137 km/h, many people are wondering what might be the final count of actual casualties and damages. As pointed out here, the intensity of the wind guts is similar to that of Hurricane Katrina.
One blogger reacts to the official temporary report (fr):

” Alors que des milliers de personnes ne sont pas recensées habituellement, comment peut-on savoir qu’il n’y a que deux morts à déplorer après un phénomène de cette ampleur ? Constat dérisoire lorsque l’on connaît l’état de l’habitat de ces régions”

How can we possibly be certain that there are only 2 human losses after such a disaster when we know that thousands of people are not registered by the census ? This is a ridiculous statement when one knows the current state of the housing in the regions.

The rescue effort, spearheaded by government agencies such as Apipa or BNGCR and NGOs, are already moving forward even though communication and transportation are still very difficult at this point.

The flow of information on the radio air and on the internet were unprecedented considering the magnitude of the disaster that frequently induced prolonged interruption of means of communication. People were sharing information via phone calls or SMS when possible and even blogs, online forums and videocasts.
A valiant effort was conducted by Joan to collect in one centralized place all the available updates under any formats about Cyclone Ivan. This led to an interactive map of up-to-date reports in several places.

Similarly, planete vivante was able to update the situation frequently and constructed a map of all the affected agglomerations and publish this striking sildeshow:

(via http://planetevivante.wordpress.com)

This 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 information was relayed by several radio stations and newspapers before being infirmed by the government. We are glad that the 9 people are reported safe. Jentilisa warns (mg) of the danger of spreading too hastily unconfirmed informations. An explanation for the conflicting reports can be found here.
The lack of emergency feedback and the overall difficulties to communicate and provide urgent response are discussed by Tomavana (mg). He wonders why there is no equivalent of a toll free 911 in Madagascar.
Providing tools for keeping track of the cyclone and predicting its path was illustrated by Harinjaka.
The aftermath on the short and long term is difficult to foresee but most predictions are pessimistic. Flooding are already taking places in Antanarivo. As seen on the photoblog of avylavitra, there is reason for concerns in the capital city as well.
Here is a video posted by avyalvitra illustrating the alarming rise of the Ikopa river in Antananarivo, already invading real estate on a few habitations.

12 comments

  • […] GlobalVoices post by Lova translated in Malagasy by Tomavana […]

  • Excellent Lova and thank’s a lot !
    I know very well Madagascar and as a geographer I’m interested in la Grande Île !!! and all Indian Ocean.
    Nice to see how all malagasy bloggers collaborate !!!
    marie sophie Planete Vivante

  • Hi Marie-sophie,
    I have been visiting your website at least 4 or 5 times a day for updates during the cyclone. I cannot say enough about the tremendous work you did. Thank you from all of us anxious for frequently updated news in times of crisis.

  • […] visuals, see video or a slideshow. Reports suggest 15,000 are homeless because of the storm, and 22 […]

  • I have followed this unfolding catastrophe from a long distance, but am appalled at the lack of awareness in the world at large. I have started a dedicated blog, relaying reports about Ivan’s aftermath. Hope it helps.

  • Jacqui

    Guido

    I agree with you, however personally connected to St Marie as my son Nathan and friends were on St Marie when cyclone Ivan hit, the four days it took Nathan to let us know that they were all fine was hell…..

    regards from South Africa
    Jacqui

  • Hi Lova
    I’ve just writen a mail to Joan and I said I am really disappointed by so little news given in the French press and I am sometimes ashamed of my country!!!
    Hardly some paragraphs in the newspaper “Le Monde” and on the national television. Many Malagasy complain here and rightly!!!
    Thank’s for all the work we can do together to inform the population !!!

  • I think the coverage of the cyclone in mainstream media in both the US and France was at best, underwhelming. Minimal is probably a better word to describe it.
    The fact that communication was unreliable within the country itself as Jacqui said was probably one of the reason for the lack of coverage.
    However, many citizens and many independent media platforms we mentioned above made a conscious effort to relay as much information as possible and as often as possible.
    The circumstances are unfortunate but this is another example of why the existence of alternative media is so critical.

  • […] Voices : Madagascar : After the storm Ivan, the aftermath de Lova […]

  • […] of planete vivante also noticed that the coverage in the french press was reduced to a bare minimum. “Hardly some paragraphs in […]

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