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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 17:48 GMT
Tropical storm batters Madagascar
Villagers stand by ruined homes in Ambomalasa after a cyclone in 2004
Madagascar is often hit by deadly cyclones
At least two people have been confirmed dead as Madagascar continues to be affected by Cyclone Ivan.

The cyclone hit the north-east coast on Sunday with winds of around 200 kph, bringing with it torrential rain.

The authorities say many areas have been flooded and several hundred people have been made homeless.

The storm is now moving down the west coast of Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, and heading for Mozambique on the African mainland.

Despite continuing high winds and rain, a rescue helicopter has finally managed to leave the capital, Antananarivo, to try to reach the island of Sainte Marie.

The island, which lies off the northeast coast of Madagascar, was the first to be struck by Cyclone Ivan.

It reached the Malagasy mainland a few hours later, knocking out mobile phone and radio networks.

Collapsed hotel

The BBC's Jonny Hogg in Antananarivo says the unexpected communications blackout means the fate of nine people, reportedly trapped in a collapsed hotel on Sainte Marie, remains uncertain.

Map of Madagascar
The authorities say every area that the cyclone has passed through is now experiencing flooding.

They say 156 people have been homeless in the eastern port of Tamatave and 486 also affected in the town of Andasibe, 100 km east of the capital.

The two confirmed deaths are in the town of Fenerive East where a further 270 people have been affected and many buildings have been destroyed.

Parts of the capital are also experiencing flooding.

Madagascar's fragile road and communications networks appear to have hampered attempts to assess the extent of the damage, with reports that roads into the worst affected areas have been washed away.

Last month at least 13 people died when the first cyclone of the season tore through western parts of Madagascar.

SEE ALSO
Country profile: Madagascar
06 Feb 08 |  Country profiles

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