Cyclone Batsirai, the second severe storm in as many weeks, tore roofs off homes and caused widespread flooding.
At least 10 people have been killed and nearly 48,000 driven from their homes after Cyclone Batsirai hit Madagascar overnight, according to the island’s disaster and risk management office.
The agency reported the deaths in a bulletin late Sunday while state radio said some died when their house collapsed in the town of Ambalavao, about 460 km (286 miles) south of the capital Antananarivo.
It was the second major storm to hit the poor Indian Ocean island nation in two weeks.
The cyclone made landfall in Mananjary, with winds of 165 kilometers (103 miles) per hour, uprooting trees, destroying buildings and forcing residents to weigh down fragile corrugated iron roofs in its path.
“Mananjary is completely destroyed, no matter where you go, everything is destroyed,” a resident named Faby told AFP news agency.
Willy Raharijaona, technical adviser to the vice-president of the Senate of Madagascar, said parts of the southeast had been cut off from surrounding areas by flooding.
“It’s as if we had just been bombed. The town of Nosy Varika is nearly 95% destroyed,” he told Reuters news agency. “The solid houses have had their roofs torn off by the wind. The wooden huts have mostly been destroyed.
The Météo-France meteorological service had previously predicted that Batsirai would pose a “very serious threat” to Madagascar, after passing Mauritius and flooding the French island of Reunion with torrential rain.
Some 10,000 people in Reunion were still without power on Sunday, three days after the tropical cyclone hit the island, injuring 12 in its path.
Tropical storm Ana had affected at least 131,000 people in Madagascar at the end of January, killing nearly 60 people, mainly in the capital Antananarivo.
Ana had also hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, killing dozens.
Meteo Madagascar, the national meteorological office, said Batsirai had weakened as it crossed the country and the average wind speed had halved.
In a cemetery in the eastern town of Mahanoro, overlooking the sea, Marie Viviane Rasoanandrasana sat on the ground, watching over the bodies of her husband, father-in-law and daughter.
Rising sea waves have eroded the sandy hill that used to be part of a cemetery. Several graves were ripped open, exposing their bodies and a few 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,” says the 54-year-old widow.
“Daily life is already very difficult,” she said, adding that the family would be forced to rebury the remains in a temporary grave until they had collected enough money for a “proper burial”. .