Winds whip the coast of Madagascar as Cyclone Freddy touches down

Tropical Cyclone Freddy is visible on satellite imagery moving toward Madagascar

After a tropical cyclone battered Madagascar's east coast, heavy rain and strong winds tore off roofs and caused a storm surge, killing at least one person.

On Tuesday, Cyclone Freddy made landfall, weeks after another tropical storm left thousands without shelter and claimed the lives of 33 people.

Traffic has been suspended and schools have been closed.

Freddy previously flooded hotels along the beach in Mauritius, causing some damage.

The island nation in the Indian Ocean is particularly susceptible to cyclones. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it experiences an average of 1 point 5 cyclones annually, the highest rate in Africa.

With wind gusts exceeding 130km/h (81mph), the cyclone made landfall on Madagascar, which is located off the southeast coast of Africa. The nation's meteorological service issued a warning that torrential downpours would continue to follow it.

The sea is still extremely rough. and overnight there will be a significant risk of coastal flooding," it said.

Before the storm hit land, a 27-year-old man drowned close to the port of Mahanoro, according to officials.

7,000 people were reportedly evacuated ahead of time from the coastal area directly in Freddy's path, according to officials, and the International Federation of Red Cross issued warnings that waves could rise to over 8 meters (26 feet).

As a precaution, some people used sandbags to weigh down their roofs.

Tahina, a local of Mananjary, a coastal community of about 25,000 people located 30 kilometers from where the cyclone first made landfall, claimed that "all the doors and windows started shaking.".

She had taken refuge in her husband's office after fleeing her house with her parents and three kids.

Tahina told the AFP news agency that "next to us, at least five houses have lost their roofs.".

Pascal Salle sobbed as he looked at Freddy's damage, which included tearing out a window from his house and turning his garden into a "sandy field.".

"This is another performance. This is something I can't do every year, it's not doable. Freddy in 2023, Batsirai and Emnati in 2022. Who's to say that another one won't fall on us in 15 days?" he asked.

At least 33 people were killed and tens of thousands of people were displaced from their homes when the severe storm Cheneso struck north-eastern Madagascar last month. It brought strong winds and precipitation that caused extensive flooding.

The devastation brought on by Cyclone Batsirai, which killed more than 130 people across Madagascar last year, is still being repaired in Mananjary.

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