At least one person has died after a tropical cyclone battered Madagascar’s east coast, with heavy rain and powerful winds tearing roofs off houses and triggering a storm surge.
Cyclone Freddy made landfall on Tuesday, weeks after another tropical storm killed 33 and left thousands without shelter. Schools have been shut and traffic has been suspended.
Earlier, Freddy caused some damage in Mauritius, flooding beachside hotels.
The Indian Ocean island nation is particularly vulnerable to cyclones. It is hit by an average of 1.5 cyclones every year, the highest rate in Africa, according to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The cyclone slightly weakened once it made landfall on Madagascar, situated off the south-east coast of Africa, with wind gusts exceeding 130km/h (81mph). The country’s meteorological service warned that torrential rains would continue along its path.
“The sea remains very rough… and a significant risk of coastal flooding will continue overnight,” it said.
A 27-year-old man drowned near the port of Mahanoro before the storm made landfall, officials said.
Officials also said 7,000 people had been pre-emptively evacuated from the coastal region directly in Freddy’s path, and warnings waves could reach over 8m (26ft) were issued by the International Federation of Red Cross.
Some people used sandbags to weigh down their roofs as a precaution.
Last month the powerful storm Cheneso smashed into north-eastern Madagascar bringing in heavy winds and triggering downpours that caused extensive flooding, and killing at least 33 people and forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Mananjary is still recovering from devastation caused by last year’s Cyclone Batsirai, which killed more than 130 people across Madagascar.