Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory reveals shocking levels of flooding throughout central and southern Madagascar, where Tropical Cyclone Batsirai has left behind total devastation.
According to the country’s Office of Risks and Disasters, the storm wiped out entire villages, killing at least 120 people and leaving tens of thousands displaced.
On February 5, Batsirai made landfall on the southeast coast near Mananjary as a category 3 storm. It had sustained winds of 105 miles per hour and gusts up to 145 miles per hour.
Heavy rainfall persisted for days as Batsirai moved over the southern part of Madagascar. In the image, flooding is particularly visible just south of Mananjary around the cities of Manakara, Farafangana, and Vangaindrano.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that while relief efforts are underway, washed out roads and bridges have made some of the hardest hit areas inaccessible.
Pasqualina DiSirio, the World Food Program’s director for Madagascar, warned that the number of storm victims could “easily rise.”
“We know for sure that rice fields, that rice crops will be damaged. This is the main crop for Malagasy people and they will be seriously affected in food security in the next three to six months if we don’t do something immediately and we don’t help them recover,” said DiSirio.
The false-color image was captured on February 10 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer