Donnerstag, 16. Februar 2012

Giovanna's impact on Madagascar

 People cross a flooded road in the Sabotsy Namehana commune, north of Antananarivo on February 14, 2012 after Cyclone Giovanna hit Madagascar. 
Photo: Andreea Campeanu/AFP

Bereits das zweite Jahr in Folge wurde am Valentinstag Madagaskar durch die Ankunft eines tropischen Wirbelsturms geprägt. Zyklon Giovanna landete kurz nach Mitternacht an der Ostküste und brachte sintflutartigen Regen und Windgeschwindigkeiten von bis zu 231 km pro Stunde.
Mindestens 16 Menschen wurden getötet und viele Menschen aus ihren Häusern vertrieben. Der Sturm traf  in den frühen Morgenstunden am Dienstag, v.a. die Städte Brickaville und Tamatave, bevor er auch die Hauptstadt Antananarivo ca. 220 Kilometer (135 Meilen) im Inland unter Wasser setzte.

Am Mittwoch morgen, hatte der Sturm eine Person in der Hauptstadt getötet, acht in Brickaville und sieben  in Moramanga, 114 Kilometer östlich von Antananarivo. Von den 592 Gemeinden, die von dem Sturm heimgesucht worden waren, gab es bis dahin nur Kontakt zu  80. Laut Beamten wurden soweit 65 Menschen verletzt und 10.852 hatten ihre Häuser verlassen müssen, nach 3380 Häuser seien völlig zerstört worden.

Die wichtigste Autobahn, nordöstlich der Hauptstadt war nicht mehr zugänglich, wie auch de Zufahrtstraßen zu Brickaville. Stromausfällen gab es im gesamten Land. 40 Regierungsgebäude und 38 Schulen wurden ebenfalls beschädigt.

Mit durchschnittlichen Windgeschwindigkeiten von 105 Kilometern pro Stunde und Böen bis zu 200 Kilometern pro Stunde und mehr, riss der Sturm Dächer von Häusern, beschädigte Gebäude und umgestürzte Bäume. In Antananarivo waren die Straßen fast leer am Mittwoch, da Behörden die Bevölkerung aufgefordert hatten, zu Hause zu bleiben.
Im Februar 2011 hatte Cyclone Bingiza mindestens 34 Menschen getötet.In 2010 war es Zyklon Hubert, der mindestens 83 Menschen das Leben kostete.

Es wurde befürchtet, dass Giovanna durch ihre Stärke und ihren Umfag von mehreren Hunderten von Kilometern, vergleichsweise soviel Schaden anrichten hätte können, wie 1994 Wirbelsturm Geralda, der 200 Menschen getötet, 40.000 vertrieben und rund 300.000 Hektar Ackerland vernichtet hat.

Citizens still smiling despite the flood caused by Cyclone Giovanna by @aKoloina

For the second year in a row, Valentine's Day on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has been marked by the arrival of a tropical cyclone. Cyclone Giovanna made landfall on the east coast shortly after midnight, bringing torrential rain and reported wind speeds of up to 231 km per hour. 

At least 16 people were killed and 10,000 forced from their homes when Cyclone Giovanna pounded Madagascar, on Wednesday still starting to assess the damage. The storm struck in the early hours of Tuesday, lashing the towns of Tamatave and Brickaville on the east coast before drenching the capital Antananarivo about 220 kilometres (135 miles) inland.

By Wednesday morning, the storm had passed over the vast Indian Ocean island nation, leaving one person dead in the capital, eight in Brickaville and seven in Moramanga, 114 kilometres east of Antananarivo, according to officials. Of the 592 communities hit by the storm, contact had been restored with just 80.Officials said 65 people had been injured and 10,852 forced from their homes, after 3,380 houses were completely destroyed, according to reports compiled by Wednesday evening.

The main highway running northeast from the capital was cut off as well as another to Brickaville, while blackouts were reported across the country.Forty government buildings and 38 schools were also damaged.

With sustained winds of 105 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour, the storm tore roofs off houses, damaged buildings and toppled trees.

Antananarivo's streets were mostly empty Wednesday as authorities urged the public to stay indoors.

In February 2011, Cyclone Bingiza killed at least 34 people and destroyed nearly 6,000 homes over the course of five days. Schools for over 7,000 children were damaged. In 2010, it was tropical storm Hubert which killed at least 83. Due to the strength of Giovanna, it was feared before that it would become as   damaging as Cyclone Geralda which killed 200 people, displaced 40,000 and destroyed about 300,000 hectares of crops in 1994.

"Madagascar est fréquemment touchée par des cyclones et des tempêtes tropicales dans les premiers mois de l’année. Le cyclone Giovanna a frappé le pays presque exactement un an après que le cyclone Bingiza a fait 14 morts et détruit 6.000 maisons sur l’île." (source)

Toamasina, Madagascar's main port, has not been as badly damaged as initially thought, director of the charity Care International John Davis told the BBC. But preliminary assessments of the smaller town of Vatomandry - which is home to about 40,000 people and is less than 50km south of where Cyclone Giovanna first hit land - has been badly damaged, he said. "Our people on the ground in Vatomandry estimate that at least 60% of homes were damaged or destroyed," he said."The sturdier houses may have just lost roofs, while traditional structures made of palm leaves and bamboo were often destroyed," he added.

Care says it will begin helicopter flights on Wednesday to further assess the damage in the wider Vatomandry district and see where help for those left without shelter or food is most needed. He said at least five people were thought to have died in the area but that number was likely to increase as more information emerged about the impact of Cyclone Giovanna. Two people have been killed in the inland sugar-producing town of Brickaville, a government official told the Reuters news agency. Storm surge warning
The government of Madagascar issued the first warnings on Monday afternoon - but residents say the intensity of the cyclone was not explained.

Town criers, who walk around the streets ringing a bell and shouting out information in the local Malagasy language, are normally used by the government in a time of crisis. But Mr Healy said they were not heard on Monday and it has left many people taken aback by the storm's severity. Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is prone to cyclones and tropical storms, especially in the rainy season between February and May. (source)

"The imminent arrival of Cyclone Giovanna injected an unusual dose of reality into the work of an evaluation team from the UK's York University which arrived on the island a week ago to assess the impact of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education's Disaster Risk Reduction, Preparedness and Response programme.

Following tropical storm Hubert in March 2010, UNICEF provided 48 temporary classrooms and repaired 90 classrooms and distributed 328 "school-in-a-box" kits benefitting some 37,000 children.

Work to rehabilitate educational infrastructure in emergencies forms a major part of UNICEF's activities in Madagascar. It also provides remote disaster-struck areas with a temporary shelter to enable schooling to continue. This so-called Tarpa Tent has a wooden frame strong enough to withstand a cyclone." (source)

News24 reports that the authorities had issued an alert of the approaching storm to the islanders but as communication in some areas is very primitive, literally with a messenger ringing a bell and shouting the message through the streets, many people had not understood the seriousness of the situation. The report says that the storm began at around 1 a.m. local time. UNICEF issued a press release on Feb 14 saying that they were getting a relief operation underway with water and sanitation assistance a priority. An aerial assessment of the situation is planned as soon as possible. The charity's press release says:

"The category 4 cyclone made landfall at 1 a.m. about 100 kilometres South of the city of Tamatave, which is also known as Taomasina, in Brickaville district. It then moved across the island in a southwesterly direction where it lost strength in the highlands and was downgraded to a tropical storm. The capital Antananarivo nevertheless saw relatively strong winds and heavy rains."

- Madagascar hit by Cyclone Giovanna/ BBC News Africa 14.02.2012

Eine Koproduktion von Radio Nationale Malgasy und Deutschen Welle Radio nach 2007 pdf

- Zyklone und ihre Namen...Naming of Cyclones/15.02.2012

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