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20 January 2023 - News


Damaged houses in Antalaha district, Sava region as storm Cheneso hits northern Madagascar. Photo| Aimé Razafifeno/ Save the Children

ANTANANARIVO, 19 JANUARY 2023Families and children in the Sava region of Northern Madagascar, woke up to massive gusts of winds and violent storms as Tropical Storm Cheneso made landfall this morning, with fears of a devastating cyclone season ahead, Save the Children said.

In response to news that Cyclone Cheneso had made landfall at 11am local time, signalling the start of what could be yet another devastating cyclone season in Madagascar and the entire southern Africa region, Save the Children’s Programme Director for Madagascar, Tatiana Dasy said:  

Our teams on the ground in Sava region are reporting massive gusts of wind, heavy storms and intensifying rainfall. We are extremely concerned that there could be extensive damage to residential areas and vulnerable yet vital public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

 We’re worried that heavy downpour of up to 200mm is still expected in the Sava region in the next 24 hours and beyond, which could cause massive flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas. An initial assessment from the meteorological department and government shows that heavy rains may extend to the Boeny region and the central lands and could persist until Sunday, leading to even more people being impacted and a possible humanitarian crisis.

Save the Children has operations in Sava region and is prepared to support in the initial impact assessment and help affected families and children with available resources.

Last year, six tropical storms including Storm Batsirai and Intense Tropical Cyclone Emnati, and Cyclone Gombe  hit Madagascar between January and April, causing flooding, landslides, displacements and loss of life, in one of the country’s worst cyclone seasons.

Save the Children has been supporting communities displaced by last year’s tropical storms by providing cash assistance, water tanks, and buckets and soap for schools. The organisation also repaired damaged schools, constructed five temporary learning spaces and provided schoolbags and furniture so that children could continue their education. Save the Children also screened and treated children suffering from malnutrition.

Save the Children is raising the alarm that extreme weather events such as Tropical Storm Cheneso are becoming more frequent as a result of the climate crisis. The organisation calls for higher-income countries to increase climate funding, to support lower-income countries, who are on the sharp end of the crisis.

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Diana Maweu,