Contact:: Lurma Rackley, CARE Atlanta Office, 404-979-9450, email@example.com; William Dowell, CARE Geneva Office, +41-79-590-3047, firstname.lastname@example.org
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, Mar. 19 /Standard Newswire/ -- CARE is initiating a response and dispatching emergency staff to Madagascar after Cyclone Indlala struck the country's northeast coast on March 15. Indlala, which registered winds up to 143 miles per hour is the fourth and potentially the most destructive cyclone to hit Madagascar in the last four months. Indlala's wind speed dropped to 47 mph, although still registering gusts up to 78 mph, after turning inland. Despite the reduction in the force of the wind, the storm continued to unleash torrential rains with devastating effect. Indlala's predicted trajectory turned south and threatened increased flooding in large areas that had already experienced serious flooding from previous storms.
Photo: Children survey flood damage from after Cyclone Indlala in Madagascar. (©2007 CARE Madagascar) Hi-resolution version available.
Although it is too early to know the full extent of the damage, early reports from CARE workers in the affected areas indicate that the intensity of Indlala is similar to Cyclone Gafila, which hit Madagascar three years ago and was one of the worst cyclones to hit the country in recent memory.
Gafila required a large-scale emergency response lasting more than a year. The succession of cyclones that have hit Madagascar since last December have already displaced more than 33,000 people according to government figures, and destroyed more than 220,000 acres of valuable farmland.
CARE staff traveling to the northeast district capital of Antalaha witnessed significant damage to houses, and roads flooded up to 25 miles from the town. Radio and telephone communications had been knocked out by the storm, and water and electricity were cut off. Staff reports from the field indicate that many houses were damaged.
CARE has been working in northeast Madagascar since 1992 and is running 18 development projects, while responding to two previous emergencies. CARE will conduct an assessment of the impact of the storm, and is planning to distributing emergency relief items, which may include tents, plastic sheeting, water purification solutions and water containers, to the most affected people and to work on opening road access in order to ensure rapid distribution of relief items.