The first tropical storm of the cyclone season, named “Alvaro,” hit the Morombe district located in the southwest region of the island of Madagascar on Monday at around 7:30 PM local time. Although the storm had weakened overnight from Monday to Tuesday, winds of up to 100 km/h were recorded as it struck the southwest coast, causing significant damage, as reported by local authorities. The storm originated from the Mozambique Channel.
The impact of the storm was swift, with a tumultuous sea producing waves reaching heights of 10 meters and gusts of wind reaching up to 140 kilometers/hour. Shortly after the storm hit, the situation deteriorated rapidly in Morombe.
“Sudden flooding of the city followed by a sea surge. The water entered all the houses in the urban commune of Morombe. The wind is blowing very strongly! The roof of a college and the director’s office were both blown away,” reported Sylvain Laha, head of the risk and disaster management bureau for the Atsimo-Andrefana region.
Local authorities have reported at least a hundred affected individuals from the lower neighborhoods of the city submerged under water. These damages were both foreseeable and anticipated, according to Tuléar Prefect Lydore Solondraza.
“In the case of Tulear and Morombe, when it rains, it is very difficult to evacuate and drain the water towards the sea. Motor pumps are needed to remove stagnant water. Currently, we have four motor pumps, and others will arrive shortly,” he specified.
As Madagascar grapples with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Alvaro, the response efforts underscore the need for effective disaster preparedness and mitigation measures, especially in vulnerable regions prone to flooding and severe weather events.