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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 20:33 GMT
Madagascar storm death toll rises
Madagascan villagers stand by their destroyed houses in Ambomalasa
The storm made thousands of people homeless
A cyclone that smashed into the coast of Madagascar on Sunday has hit the island a second time three days later.

Cyclone Gafilo has now killed 32 people and made thousands homeless, an official told the AFP news agency.

Officials in the nearby Comoros Islands say a ferry carrying 113 people bound for Madagascar that disappeared during the storm has probably sunk.

Relatives of those on board the Samson have been waiting anxiously for news at the port of Mahajanga.

Two survivors are reported to have been found, and France has sent a plane to join in the search.

The ferry was 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the Madagascan coast when contact was last made, L'Express de Madagascar newspaper reported.

Aid appeal

Cyclone Gafilo first ripped through northern Madagascar at wind speeds of up to 200km/h, destroying buildings, uprooting trees and flooding towns.

Officials said there was no immediate word on its strength when it hit the island for a second time on Wednesday morning.

"The latest death toll issued at 1500 GMT is 32 dead, 42 missing, 11 injured and 6,088 homeless," Farah Rasoarimamonjy of Madagascar's national rescue council told AFP.

The government appealed for international aid to help deal with what authorities feared could be one of the worst cyclones the island has experienced.

Madagascar is usually exposed to cyclones between December and March.

Last month 29 people were killed and tens of thousands were made homeless by Cyclone Elita.


SEE ALSO:
Madagascar calls for cyclone aid
08 Mar 04  |  Africa
Cyclone flattens Madagascar town
04 Apr 00  |  Africa
Fierce cyclone hits Madagascar
02 Apr 00  |  Africa
Country profile: Madagascar
27 May 03  |  Country profiles


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