ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar – The toll of Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar has risen to 92 deaths and more than 112,000 people displaced by the tropical storm which rampaged across the island earlier this week, the national disaster management office announced Wednesday.
Among the deaths, 71 people died in Ikongo district about 330 miles south of Antananarivo, the capital, said officials.
“Most of the houses are made of earth and when there are floods, the houses become like mud and they collapse,” Ikongo district deputy Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa said. “They collapsed on people and became like tombs for people who were asleep.”
The rural district remains completely isolated because landslides have blocked road access, he said.
“The inhabitants need help,” Razafintsiandraofa said.
After gaining strength as it moved across the Indian Ocean, Cyclone Batsirai landed on Madagascar’s east coast late Saturday near the town of Mananjary with winds of 102 mph and peaks of 146 mph, according to the national weather department. Heavy rains caused flooding and significant damage to homes and infrastructure.
At least 7,500 homes were destroyed and another 7,000 flooded by the cyclone which weakened as it moved southeast across the island and then dispersed.