ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — A tropical cyclone that swept across Madagascar has killed 18 people and left four missing after making landfall on the north of the Indian Ocean island nation earlier this week, authorities said on Friday.

The storm has also caused severe flooding that partly submerged entire villages, displaced or affected some 47,000 people and set off landslides that injured three people, the National Office for Disaster Management said.

Cyclone Gamane hit northern Madagascar on Wednesday and has now weakened considerably, leaving a trail of destruction behind it.

In the Diana and Sava regions in the north, bridges and roads were washed away and houses and rice fields were submerged. Residents paddled around their villages in canoes looking to help others trapped in their homes as the water level nearly reached the roofs of some buildings.

The cyclone red alert was lifted on Thursday morning after the worst part of the storm brought wind gusts of over 210 kilometers per hour (130 miles per hour).

Madagascar has been hit by at least 10 strong tropical cyclones since the start of 2022 and is facing a hunger crisis in parts of the island, due to the damaging impact of extreme weather, according to the World Food Program.

The United Nations said the number of cyclones in the past two years is unprecedented for Madagascar, which has also suffered from its worst drought in 40 years in the south. It is one of the countries most at risk to climate change and one with the highest rates of poverty, according to the World Bank.

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AP Africa news: https://apnews.com/hub/africa



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