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article imageMadagascar braces for cyclone Enawo

By AFP     Mar 6, 2017 in Environment

Madagascan authorities on Monday issued a warning of severe floods and storm damage as tropical cyclone Enawo bore down on the island's northeast coast.

With the cyclone due to hit land on Tuesday morning, residents in its path were advised to evacuate low-lying areas, seek shelter and stock up on on food and water supplies.

"Enawo will land tomorrow, between 9:00 and 12:00 (0600 and 0900 GMT), in the districts of Antalaha and Maroantsetra," Thierry Venty, of the National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC), said.

"For now it's a tropical cyclone, but the forecast (...) says it will evolve into an intense tropical cyclone before making landfall," he told reporters at a press conference in the capital Antananarivo.

Venty said rescue teams were being positioned to provide emergency relief.

According to latest bulletin on Monday from Madagascar's meteorology department, Enawo was approaching the coast packing winds of 140 kilometres (85 miles) per hour, with gusts of up to 195 kilometres an hour.

The cyclone is expected to pound the coast before weakening as it heads down the eastern region towards Antananarivo.

Madagascar's storm season normally runs from November through February and claims dozens of lives every year.

In 2012, tropical storm Irina and tropical cyclone Giovanna claimed more than 100 lives.

The Indian Ocean island has suffered severe drought and food shortages since 2015, with the southern region the worst affected.

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