( 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”
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:
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.