from HANSLEY NABAB, ARMANDO DOMINGOS & MARIO RAJOMAZANDRY
PORT LOUIS, (CAJ News) – CYCLONE Batsirai, the latest disaster to strike the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc has sent shockwaves in several countries in Southern Africa.
Serious concerns persist about the impact of the cyclone on highly vulnerable people and the limited resources available to respond to the unfolding needs.
Concerns come at a time some countries are reeling from the destructive tropical storm Ana.
Batsirai also comes three years after successive cyclones- Idai and Kenneth- wreaked havoc across the region, leaving hundreds dead.
The new tropical cyclone Batsirai formed over the Indian Ocean on January 27 and started moving westward, toward Mauritius, Réunion and Madagascar.
Until February, heavy rainfall, strong winds and storm surge are forecast over the whole Mauritius, the Réunion and all eastern coast of Madagascar.
Jason Nicholls, international forecasting manager at AccuWeather, forecast the cyclone to strike Madagascar on Saturday with a renewed flooding threat this weekend.
In Madagascar, it is feared more than 595 000 persons would be affected, including 140 000 will be displaced.
The country is coincidentally suffering its most severe drought in decades.
Weather Madagascar said maritime activities on all the east coasts have been disrupted following the expected arrival of cyclonic swells generated by Batsirai.
Swells will gradually take heights of 4 to 8 metres.
Maximum sustained winds up to 215 km/h are predicted.
“Going out to sea is strongly discouraged,” Weather Madagascar warned.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that already at least 34 people have died and over 62 000 have been affected by intense rainfall that caused flooding, landslides and loss of life in the country after Ana struck.
There are possible impacts on the vulnerable Mozambique next week.
In the country, tropical storm Ana affected 141 483 people, injured 220 and killed at least 25 people.
It flooded more than 70 000 hectares of land.
In 2019, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth left more than 600 people dead.
Batsirai is projected to glide along the east coast of Africa, putting the southern parts of Zimbabwe northern parts of South Africa and Eswatini at risk.
Idai killed 634 people in Zimbabwe.
The South African Weather Services stated that despite significant recent advances in Numeric Weather Prediction (NWP) and supercomputing, it is not yet possible to accurately determine whether Batsirai will eventually affect the country.
More than 20 people died in South Africa following storms in January.
– CAJ News