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Appeal for help as death toll in Madagascar tops 110 from tropical storm

Madagascar Emergency Relief Fund

More than 110 are dead and 330,000 homeless after two tropical storms battered Madagascar over the past month, says the island nation’s disaster management agency.

This rainfall analysis was made at the Goddard Space Flight Center using data from a near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA). TRMM-based near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) data are used to monitor rainfall over the global Tropics. This analysis shows that between Feb 20-27 the tropical cyclone contributed to flooding rainfall totaling over 280mm (~11 inches). Image courtesy of NASA.

Most of the deaths occurred last week when Irina struck eastern Madagascar from February 26-March 2, but the bulk of crop damage and housing loss was caused by Cyclone Giovanna which hit February 13 and 14.

At least 54 deaths from Irina were recorded near Kelilalina and Ifanadiana in eastern Madagascar. Many of the victims were children swept away by rivers, according to local newspaper and radio reports. Others were buried in landslides. Damage was reportedly worse in areas where hillsides had been stripped of vegetation due to deforestation.

Estimates of the toll are still preliminary due to the remoteness of the region and damage to roads, but the Centre ValBio, the main NGO that is active in the area, says that help is urgently needed.

“Together we will be working with the Madagascar National Parks and the Mayor’s office to help,” said Patricia Wright, a noted biologist who founded ValBio. “Every little bit will make a difference.”

Wright’s group has set up a donation function for contributions toward the relief effort: The Madagascar Emergency Relief Fund.

Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries. The island is famous for its biodiversity, including lemurs, which in recent years has brought large numbers of ecotourists and helped boost the economy which has struggled in the aftermath of a 2009 military coup.

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