Cyclone Batsirai’s Disaster in Madagascar
In the beginning of 2022, Madagascar, a country already struggling from drastic climate conditions, was hit by Cyclone Batsirai — the strongest since 2017. Batsirai affected Madagascar’s citizens, environment, agriculture, and economy. As climate change continues to worsen, it is important to note how cyclones may increase in power and lead to more destruction.
A cyclone is a large amount of air rotating around a center. It is formed when warm air rises above the ocean and cold air rushes in. The cold air then heats up and ascends again. These masses of air can be incredibly destructive as they can cause flooding, landslides, strong winds, and the demolition of homes and towns.
The effects of the cyclone were devastating as more than 120 people lost their lives and tens of thousands were displaced. Entire civilizations were destroyed and more than 36,000 people lost electricity. Batsirai brought strong winds with gusts up to 145 miles per hour along with heavy rain and flooding. As a result, this frightening cyclone ripped through houses, schools, and hospitals.
Cyclone Batsirai left many vulnerable to food shortages. Because the cyclone swept through farms, many crops were destroyed, reducing the amount of food available and increasing the prices. In just a few days after the disaster, the price of rice rose, which led to panic among civilians. Additionally, the floods created a massive health crisis, especially with the heightened risk of malaria and diarrhea. Luckily, many organizations stepped in to help by providing meals and care packages, yet the effects were still undoubtedly noticeable.
In total, the destruction from the storm was estimated to cost around $190 million dollars. Over 8,000 houses were destroyed and more than 2,000 were damaged. More than 9,200 students faced the effects after approximately 200 schools were damaged. These unfortunate events will leave a lasting impact on the citizens of Madagascar.
“[Madagascar] remains vulnerable with a harvest projected to be 63% lower than average,” according to a report by the World Food Programme.
Climate change is already affecting people and countries in real and devastating ways. Extreme weather, such as what was seen with Cyclone Batsirai, will only become more common as time goes on. Since February, countless citizens of Madagascar have been helped by kind organizations, offering food, money, and relief. However, Madagascar still stands as one of the poorest countries in the world and the surge of natural disasters, partially due to climate change, will continue to overwhelm this nation if environmental action is not taken globally.