10 killed as another cyclone devastates Indian Ocean island

Locals find shelter at an evacuation centre, as Cyclone Batsirai sweeps inland, in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar on Sunday. [Reuters]

Emergency rescuers were yesterday struggling to reach parts of Madagascar ravaged by a cyclone over the weekend because many roads and bridges were impassable while rising river levels were threatening to displace more people, officials said.

Cyclone Batsirai slammed into the Indian Ocean island late on Saturday, battering the eastern coastline until it moved away late on Sunday, leaving at least 10 people dead, 43,000 displaced and some towns and villages largely destroyed.

Madagascar, with a population of nearly 30 million, had already been dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Ana, which killed 55 people and displaced 130,000 just two weeks earlier, as well as with a drought and food emergency in its southern Grand Sud region.

President Andy Rajoelina flew into the coastal town of Mananjary, normally about 500km (311 miles) by road southeast of the capital Antananarivo. Land routes to Mananjary were cut off due to flooding and the town was reported to be devastated.