Storm Ana: Deadly Africa storm shows climate crisis reality

Someone wading through water

Storm Ana made tens of thousands homeless across Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique

The deadly storm that hit southern African countries this week has shown the reality of the climate crisis, a UN official has said.

The death toll from the destruction caused by Storm Ana has risen to 86.

Rescue workers are trying to reach tens of thousands who have been cut off as roads and bridges have been washed away in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.

Authorities are now watching to see if a second storm – Batsirai – will hit the continent next week.

In Mozambique, where 18 people have been killed and 120,000 people affected, Maria Luisa Fornara, from the UN children’s fund Unicef, described Storm Ana as a “blunt reminder” of the impact that climate change is having.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said more investment was needed to “protect and save lives”.

Residents of the 67-hectare Ankasina flooded neighbourhood use makeshift boats to reach their homes in Antananarivo on Januray 28, 2022

In one neighbourhood of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, people are having to use canoes to reach their flooded homes

“I lost my fishing boat, it was swept away by the strong wind,” Abdul Ibrahim, a fisherman in Mozambique’s Nampula province told AFP news agency.

“I have never seen anything like this before. It will be difficult for me to recover.”

Seeking temporary shelter in a classroom for her and her two children, Maria Jose told AFP that the first winds had blown away her house.

“I have nothing left, I lost everything.”

Some of the infrastructure that had been rebuilt after Cyclone Idai in 2019 has been destroyed again.

In Madagascar, which was the first country to be hit on Monday, the death toll now stands at 48 and some 72,000 are reported to have lost their homes.

“I am very sad because we work like crazy to make money and now our house is destroyed,” one woman said surveying the damage that was caused.

A woman looks on at her house destroyed by tropical storm Ana at Kanjedza village, in Chikwawa district, southern Malawi, January 26, 2022

Many people in Malawi, like elsewhere in the region, are now having to rebuild their destroyed homes

Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, declared a state of emergency in the wake of the storm which left 20 people dead in the country.

The disaster management agency said families had been forced to carry the dead to burials because roads had been cut off.

A resident in the southern town of Chikwawa, described how fellow villagers spent two days holding on to trees as the waters swept through.

The weather authorities are keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Batsirai which has formed in the Indian Ocean and is moving westwards.

Map: Map of southern Africa

Map: Map of southern Africa