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Over 10,000 displaced as Enawo cyclone hits Madagascar

Firefighters work to remove a fallen tree from a car, caused by tropical cyclone Enawo in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on March 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

More than 10,000 people have been displaced as a powerful cyclone hits the island nation of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Officials in Madagascar’s national disaster management office (BNGC) said on Thursday that over 12,000 people had been affected by tropical cyclone Enawo until Wednesday evening while more than10,000 had been displaced in the impacted districts.

The agency said five people were killed while seven others were wounded in the storm, which had reached the capital Antananarivo late on Tuesday.

Schools were shut in Antananarivo while hundreds from a southern district of the city were evacuated to a stadium for safety.

This photo shows a small building damaged by a tree in a street in Sambava, Madagascar, on March 8, 2017. (Photo by AP)

There were fears of severe flooding as the Red Cross warned that rivers could swell to the bursting point. It said the full impact of the storm was not yet known.

However, the BNGC said Enawo had weakened and winds speed had fallen to 65 kilometers per hour, down from 290 kph at the height of the storm. It said Enawo was now just a tropical depression.

Trees are lashed by strong winds in Sambava, Madagascar, on March 7, 2017 as heavy rains and strong winds from a cyclone hit the northeast of the island country. (Photo by AP)

Images and videos in the social media showed trees flattened and roofs ripped apart. Floods also affected the roads but there was no clear estimate about the damage.

More than 100 Madagascans were killed five years ago when tropical storm Irina and tropical cyclone Giovanna hit the land. Madagascar has been grappling with severe drought and food shortages since 2015, although storms mostly affect the more affluent northern regions. 

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