At least 21 people were killed and 62,000 have been displaced after Cyclone Batsirai tore through Madagascar over the weekend. Photo by Maxar Technologies/EPA-EFE
Feb. 8 (UPI) -- More than 21 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced after Cyclone Batsirai devastated Madagascar over the weekend.
Three children under the age of 12 were among those killed after the storm tore through the island's southeast on Friday before making its way inland, Save the Children said in a statement. At least 62,000 people have also been displaced and 69 schools have been completely destroyed, 439 have been partially destroyed and 55 had their roofs blown off.
"East Madagascar has been hit really badly and authorities and humanitarian groups are still assessing the full impact of the damage. But we know that tens of thousands of children have lost their homes -- and as many as 10,000 who were able to go to school last week are without an education this week," said Tatiana Dasy, Save the Children's program director for Madagascar.
Nearly 26,000 people were displaced in the town of Mananjary alone and the town's hopsital was badly damaged.
Madagascar's president, Andry Rajoelina, called on the people of the country to "show solidarity" as he toured the devastation in Mananjary on Monday.
"We will act together to help our brothers and sisters affected and we will rebuild together what has been decimated," he wrote on Twitter.
Pasqualina Di Sirio, country director for the World Food Program in Madagascar, said the storm ripped out fruit trees and flooded rice paddies, while safe water was scarce.
"There are other areas where we just don't know," Di Sirio said, adding that relief may not reach those areas until the end of the week.
Cyclone Batsirai also caused flooding in the center of the country threatening crops, as the country is already facing food security due to a drought.
"Seventy-seven percent of the country is ultra-poor, and any shock can transform those ultra-poor into complete misery," Mr. Manhes said.