Cyclone Freddy- Mauritius

This general view shows the Pointe Jeome jetty in Mahebourg, Mauritius, on February 20, 2023 as Cyclone Freddy approaches. -(Photo by Laura MOROSOLI / AFP)

Madagascar braces for Cyclone Freddy

Cyclone Freddy will be “likely at an intense stage,” 120km per hour which could potentially impact some two million people on the island

Cyclone Freddy- Mauritius

This general view shows the Pointe Jeome jetty in Mahebourg, Mauritius, on February 20, 2023 as Cyclone Freddy approaches. -(Photo by Laura MOROSOLI / AFP)

A slightly weakened, but still powerful tropical Cyclone Freddy was poised to strike eastern Madagascar on Tuesday and could potentially impact some two million people on the large Indian Ocean island.


The storm was expected to make landfall on the island’s eastern coast between 1600 GMT and 1700 GMT, the French forecaster Meteo-France said.

It will be “likely at an intense stage,” packing winds of up to 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour, the UN’s disaster agency OCHA warned.

Freddy on Monday passed some 120 kilometres northeast of Mauritius and 190 kms from the French island of La Reunion.

Although expected to have slightly weakened, it will still bring “devastating winds” and “very dangerous conditions,” the French forecaster Meteo-France said.

The storm is expected to land north of Mananjary, a coastal town of 25,000 people that remains devastated by last year’s Cyclone Batsirai, which killed more than 130 people across the country.

By the end of the afternoon the town’s streets were almost empty as winds strengthened and rain started falling.

“There are no more people on the streets,” Mialy Caren Ramanantoanina, the regional spokeswoman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told AFP by phone, speaking from the town located 500 kilometres southeast of the capital Antananarivo.

ALSO READ: Cyclone Freddy expected in Southern African countries

She said many people had sought shelter in 35 safe shelters set up across the town, with residents living in big houses also taking in neighbours.

“Right now we have strong winds as well as heavy rain,” Ramanantoanina added.

Locals reached by phone said the beach was empty, with only cattle roaming around.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said more than 2.3 million people in Madagascar could be affected by Freddy, and the cyclone would then pass through Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the African mainland.

The large Indian Ocean island of Madagascar typically takes several hits during the annual November- April storm season.

Freddy is the first cyclone, and the second tropical weather system, to hit during the current season, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Flights headed for Madagascar’s east coast regions were cancelled, a journalist in Antananarivo reported.

Locals in the coastal region told AFP by phone that they had reinforced roofs with sandbags to prevent them from being blown away.

Others dismantled their homes made of bamboo sticks and stored the  material for rebuilding after the storm has passed.

Since Sunday, authorities in all-terrain vehicles equipped with loudhailers have been driving around the streets reminding people to stay safe.

Women and children were starting to move into schools and other shelters.

ALSO READ: Mauritius braces for intense Cyclone Freddy


Authorities in Mauritius on Tuesday lifted a cyclone warning but warned that they remained on alert for heavy rain.

The lifting of the warning enabled government offices to re-open and shops, banks and public transport to resume services.

The international airport began operating again as of 8:00am, according to aviation authorities.

Freddy passed around 190 km off the coast of the Reunion Island Monday night without causing major damage, although about a quarter of households were without electricity Tuesday morning.

Authorities there lifted the storm alert early Tuesday.

The island’s Roland-Garros international airport reopened Tuesday morning after it closed on Monday afternoon.

Last month a powerful storm named Cheneso smashed into northeastern Madagascar bringing heavy winds and triggering downpours that caused extensive flooding, and killed at least 33 people after affecting more than 90,000.

By: © Agence France-Presse