Tropical storm Ana has caused widespread flooding in Madagascar, including in the capital city, raising the death toll from recent heavy rains to 34 people and displacing more than 55,000, officials said Monday.
With torrential rains continuing, Antananarivo’s rivers are rising and officials are urging residents to leave low-lying areas of the capital and surrounding areas. Many residents have been evacuated in inflatable motorized boats.
Madagascar’s meteorology department warned Monday of continued heavy rains. The tropical depression has moved across the Indian Ocean to the African continent, causing strong winds and rain in northern Mozambique.
The storm hit Madagascar over the weekend after the island had already experienced several days of rains, the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management said. The majority of those made homeless by the floods are in the capital’s Analamanga area, where many low-lying neighborhoods are near flooded rivers.
“I was still in my bed when someone whistled. When I got up, my feet were directly in the water. There was water everywhere. We saw the pots and the dishes carried away by the water. We were only able to bring some dry clothes and sheets to sleep here,” said Mbolatiana Razananiarisoa, whose family has found shelter in one of the capital’s gymnasiums.
Several rivers that have flooded the capital are still rising, officials warned.
“Right now, we are on red alert,’ … It’s very dangerous,” said Ranto Rakotonjanahary, the director-general Antananarivo’s flood management authority.
The national highway that connects Antananarivo to the country’s largest port, Tamatave, on the east coast, has been cut in many places by landslides and a ruptured dam.