AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Cyclon Gafilo causes havoc. Caritas mobilises to provide relief aid

Monday, 8 March 2004

Antananarivo (Fides Service)- “We are still waiting to known the official figures before assessing the total damage, but we have already activated the network of diocesan and parish Caritas offices to bring relief aid to the stricken people affected by the fury of the cyclone” Caritas sources in Madagascar told Fides. “No one is reported dead, but material damage is consistent. We also fear the cyclone may return. The first signs are visible as heavy rains lash the Island ”.
Yesterday Sunday 7 March Gafilo cyclone hit Madagascar, right across the island from east to west. During last night it headed out to sea. Many homes were destroyed and many roofs were blown off.
The cyclone - which moves 17 km an hour, with a diameter of 250 km is accompanied by winds of up to 180 km per hour - is expected to make a circle and strike the Island a second time tomorrow.
Malagasy security sources say an estimated 50,000 people have been made homeless, damage is serious but no lives have been lost. Foreign Minister Marcel Ranjeva has appealed for international help. In February Elita cyclone hit Madagascar, klling 29 people, injuring 100 and leaving 44,000 without a home. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 8/3/2004, righe 21 parole 232)