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Madagascar cyclone toll hits 9

THE toll from the cyclone that struck the west coast of Madagascar earlier this week has risen to nine, disaster officials said yesterday.

The officials also said Cyclone Fanele had left 4,000 people homeless.

Fanele hit Morondava in western Madagascar on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and winds of up to 210 kilometers per hour. It uprooted giant trees, flattened homes and left large areas flooded. Waterlogged roads were strewn with branches, boulders, coconuts and rubbish.

The water supply was restored yesterday to Morondava, a regional hub and home to about 30,000 people, said Dia Styvanley Soa of the National Office for Disasters Preparedness. But the town, littered with fallen power lines, was still without electricity. In Morondava on Thursday, Michel Randriatsialonina said the force and noise of the storm was so overwhelming, he did not at first notice a felled tree had bisected his house. He and his family took shelter in a nearby school.

"It was like in a war," he said with a laugh. "We all trembled."


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