The death toll from Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar rose to 80 on Wednesday from a previously reported 29, Reuters said today.
The cyclone slammed into the Indian Ocean Island late on Saturday, battering the southeastern coastline until it moved away late on Sunday.
It was Madagascar’s second destructive storm in two weeks, after Cyclone Ana killed 55 people and displaced 130,000 in a different area of the country, further north.
The island nation, which has a population of nearly 30 million, was already struggling with food shortages in the south, a consequence of a severe and prolonged drought. The World Food Program said Batsirai had made the situation worse by destroying crops that were just two weeks from harvest.
In Mananjary, one of the worst affected towns, entire neighborhoods had been flattened, with planks of wood, palm fronds, clothing and household items strewn everywhere. A long sandy beach was covered in debris.