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Storm Ana deaths rise to 88 as second storm brews to Africa's east

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By Reuters
Storm Ana deaths rise to 88 as second storm brews to Africa's east
Storm Ana deaths rise to 88 as second storm brews to Africa's east   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

JOHANNESBURG -Tropical Storm Ana has killed at least 88 people across southern and eastern Africa, with recovery operations still ongoing as another storm threatened more severe weather.

Storm Ana passed over Madagascar on Jan. 22, adding to days of already intense rainfall. The country declared a state of disaster on Thursday night, reporting a rise in the death toll from Ana to 48, with people killed by landslides and collapsing buildings or washed away.

Ana then made landfall in Mozambique on Jan. 24, where 20 have been reported dead, before moving inland to Malawi, where it triggered massive power cuts. Malawi’s death toll rose to 20 on Thursday.

Across all three nations, Ana has affected hundreds of thousands of people and lead to widespread flooding and destruction, according to the United Nations.

“This latest storm…is a blunt reminder that the climate crisis is very much a reality,” said Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Mozambique.

The region has been repeatedly struck by severe storms and cyclones in recent years, destroying homes, infrastructure and crops and displacing large numbers of people.

In some cases, communities still recovering are hit again, compounding the impact. Experts say storms are becoming stronger and more frequent as waters warm due to climate change, with rising sea levels also making low-lying coastal areas vulnerable.

Another storm, dubbed Batsirai, is now travelling towards Africa’s east coast.

Meteo France on Friday described Batsirai as a small system that presented no immediate threat to a group of islands to the east of Madagascar, including the French territory of Reunion, because it was still days away.

However, it said the evolution of Batsirai’s intensity and trajectory remained uncertain. Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology warned Batsirai still had the potential to evolve into a severe tropical storm.