Morondava Subproject Coordinator Roger Ralohotsy sent CFCA his eyewitness description of the cyclone that hit Morondava in mid-January.
On Saturday, Jan. 17, the rain began to pour but it did not last for long time. It drizzled all day. The next day, the heavy rain began to hit this region. The weatherman reported that there is a type of ìIntertropical Convergence Zoneî at the Mozambique Channel. It lasted all day and night. The next day on Jan. 19, the rains gained force, and the roads and the low areas flooded. The buses and the cars in town could not use the main street completely because it was covered by the water. It was hard to walk around: market and sidewalks did not exist anymore because of the water level.
In the middle of the morning, the radio warned the population in this region of Morondava that the bad weather had become a tropical cyclone. At first, the size of that cyclone was about 400 kilometers wide and the wind speed was nearly 150 ñ 200 kilometers per hour. The size of its eye was 30 km wide. That was a giant and powerful cyclone for us.
On the morning of Jan. 20, the cyclone began to move northeast, directly toward Morondava. The wind began to blow and became more and more intense. The radio kept passing on warnings and the different precautions to be taken when the cyclone hit the town. The wind and the rain continued all day.
Later that night, around 11 p.m. everyone could feel the force of the wind. The rain sounded like it was over. Maybe because of the power of the wind, the rain could not hit the ground or the peopleís roofs. At 2 a.m., we could feel from the inside of the house that the wind wiped out everything. The coconut trees cracked, the tin roofs were flying like sheets of paper. All the leaves on the trees were grinded by the wind.
The next morning at 5 a.m. we prepared to go out but there was no way because the wind was so powerful. All the branches which pointed to the opposite direction of the wind were either cut down or twisted. The wind died down at 9 a.m. on Jan. 21.
We started to visit the neighborhood, and there was chaos in general. It is hard to say or give you an exact number, but around 80 percent of the houses had their roofs blown off. The coconut trees fell down. They are actually strong trees but could not resist the force of the wind. Thankfully, they did not fall on peopleís houses. Also, when we discussed with families and friends, we found that no one was hurt.
Damage to the houses and the other infrastructures was serious. I would say about three days after the cyclone, running water returned. As for the electricity, that was different story since there were thousands of meters of wire to be fixed. Many poles fell down or were cut in half. These all had to be replaced.
CFCA is working with the Antsirabe project team and will be providing funding to assist the sponsored families with housing repairs and other critical needs.
Read about CFCA’s Disaster Assistance Fund that helps meet emergency and long-term needs of sponsored members affected by natural disasters.