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‘Race against time’ as Madagascar braces for 4th tropical cyclone in a month

NEW YORK, USA, 23 February , 2022,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-The island nation of Madagascar is shoring up for its fourth tropical cyclone in a month, UN aid agencies warned on Tuesday, as they outlined plans to help the authorities assist the most vulnerable. 

While tropical cyclone Emnati was due to make landfall in the south of the East African State on Tuesday – on Madagascar’s east coast – central and southern areas were also likely to be affected. 

“We are in a race against time to protect those who dealt with the fury of the first three extreme weather events from the impact of Emnati,” said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for UN humanitarian coordination office, OCHA.  

“Response teams have been deployed earlier to support the Government-led response.” 

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Lending a hand 

To help boost the response, UN humanitarians have appealed for $26 million in funding since cyclone Batsirai made landfall earlier this month. 

The World Food Programme (WFP) acknowledged that the new storm would increase the needs of those already reeling from four weeks of weather chaos and said that it was ready to support those affected. 

More than 1.6 million people need humanitarian assistance, including 334,000 in the Grand Sud who are facing emergency levels of food insecurity – following recurring drought and the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to boosting staff numbers on the ground, the UN agency is coordinating with the Government to distribute hot meals in affected areas and 148 tonnes of stored food while awaiting additional supplies, when it is safe to make deliveries. 

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Typhoon season 

Although it is the typhoon season in the Indian Ocean, it is rare to see four storms hitting the same country in the space of four weeks, said Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

“We had been concerned yesterday that it might strengthen to a strong category three or even four, but fortunately, that didn’t happen; but even so the winds are going to be very high, there have been high winds, destructive gusts of between 150 to 200 kilometres per hour, and it’s a big storm, so these winds are going to cover a large radius.” 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UN News. 

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