Madagascar: Lessons learned after 3rd severe tropical cyclone in a month

Since late January, 3 severe tropical cyclones have affected Madagascar tremendously, the latest being cyclone Jokwe who made landfall in the northern region of Madagascar, destroying 40 homes and leaving 400 people stranded in Nosy-be. The city of Antsiranana was also affected but not as extensively and Jokwe is now destroying homes on the coast of Mozambique. The sad pun about the current cyclonic season being a cruel “Jok(w)e” from nature notwithstanding, bloggers urge the authorities for more adequate preparedness with respect to natural disasters. An analysis of the reasons for the extent of the catastrophe once landfall is made could help prevent more damages, especially considering that a 4th tropical cyclone, Kamba, is now forming 700 miles east of Madagascar.

jokwe revised
( image credit to planete vivante)
Marie Sophie (
in French) and Tomavana (in Malagasy) list the reasons why cyclones have caused so much damage in Madagascar:
According to Tomavana (mg):

“ny orana[..], fisondrotry ny haavon’ny ranomasina [..], ny onja ateraky ny rivomahery [..] sy ny rivotra [..]no tena fototr’ireo fahasimbana ”

Precipitations [..], the increase of the sea level [..], the strength of the ocean waves caused by the storm [..] and the wind gust [..] are the 4 main causes of destruction.

Marie Sophie explains that (fr):

au nombre des victimes corporelles, souvent important (environ 6 000 décès chaque année), s’ajoute un nombre de sans-abri [..]; les habitations y sont généralement très loin d’une conception paracyclonique adaptée [..]. Les conséquences économiques peuvent également être liées à l’interruption des liaisons aériennes et maritimes ou aux dégâts portés aux réseaux divers (eau, téléphone, électricité) […]parmi les atteintes portées à l’environnement, on distingue les effets directs (destruction de forêts par les vents, dégâts des inondations, etc.) et les effets indirects (pollution des côtes par un naufrage, effets dus à un accident industriel ou technologique, etc.)

Not only the human toll is often substantial (6,000 casualties on average per year), one needs to factor in the number of homelesses […] Homes are in their vast majority not conceived with cyclone prevention in mind [..] The economic outcomes of such disaster also have to factor in the indirect consequences: interruptions of commercial airlines and ferries or the destructions of power lines, phone lines and pipelines […] from a environmental perspective, the damages can be direct ( destruction of forrests, flooding..) but also indirect such as pollution caused by the capsizing of boats at large, industrial accidents etc..)

Joan points to the many relief and rescue organizations where you can make donations for victims of the latest cyclones.


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