Cyclone Batsirai, the second strong storm in so many weeks, tore roofs off homes and caused widespread flooding.
At least 10 people were killed and nearly 48,000 were forced to flee their homes after Cyclone Batsirai hit Madagascar at night, according to the island nation’s Disaster and Risk Management Authority.
The agency reported the deaths in a newsletter late Sunday, while state radio reported that some died when their house collapsed in the town of Ambalavao, about 460km (286 miles) south of the capital, Antananarivo.
It was the second major storm to hit a poor island nation in the Indian Ocean in two weeks.
The cyclone reached the mainland in Mananjari with winds of 165 kilometers (103 miles) per hour, uprooting trees, destroying buildings and forcing residents to load fragile corrugated roofs along the way.
“Mananjari is completely destroyed, no matter where you go, everything is destroyed,” a resident named Fabi told AFP.
Willy Rahariaona, a technical adviser to the Vice President of the Senate of Madagascar, said some parts of the southeast had been cut off from the surrounding areas by floods.
“It was as if we had just been bombed. The town of Nosy Varika is almost 95 percent destroyed, “he told Reuters.” The stylish houses saw their roofs torn off by the wind. Most of the wooden huts were destroyed. “
Earlier, the Meteo-France meteorological service predicted that Bacirai would pose a “very serious threat” to Madagascar after crossing Mauritius and watering the French island of La Reunion with torrential rain.
About 10,000 people in La Reunion were still without electricity on Sunday, three days after a tropical cyclone swept through the island, injuring 12 on its way.
Tropical storm Anna affected at least 131,000 people in Madagascar in late January, killing nearly 60 people, mostly in the capital, Antananarivo.
Anna had also hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, causing dozens of deaths.
Meteo Madagascar, the national meteorological service, said Batsirai had lost weight when crossing the country and that the average wind speed had halved.
In a cemetery in the eastern city of Mahanoro, overlooking the sea, Marie Vivian Rasoanandrasana sat on the ground and watched the bodies of her husband, father-in-law and daughter.
The waves of the rising sea eroded the sand hill that was part of the cemetery. Several graves were torn apart, exposing their bodies and some others.
“A few days ago the sea was far away, but this morning I was told that the waves had washed away part of the cemetery,” said the 54-year-old widow.
“Everyday life is already very difficult,” she said, adding that the family will be forced to rebury the remains in a temporary grave until they raise enough money for a “proper burial”.