20 dead as powerful storm hits Madagascar

20 dead as powerful storm hits Madagascar

20 dead as powerful storm hits Madagascar

A powerful tropical storm that lashed the island of Madagascar has left 20 people dead and affected 19,000 more, according to an official toll.

The storm also closed several national highways that were flooded by the heavy rain, the country’s disaster management office said late on March 19.

In a previous toll late on March 18 it said 17 people had died and 15,000 had been affected.

Storm Eliakim slammed into the northeastern Masoala peninsula on March 16 before barreling south down the coast. It hit the island’s Mananara region, 635 km north-east of Antananarivo, late on March 17 and had a wind speed of 85 km per hour and gusts of 120 km per hour.

By March 19 it moved away from the Indian Ocean island and “presents no more danger.”

Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries, is frequently hit by cyclones and tropical storms.

In January, cyclone Ava claimed 51 lives and in March last year at least 78 people perished in cyclone Enawo.