Flooding in Madagascar’s Capital Kills 12, Displaces 16,000

Floods in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, left at least 12 people dead and forced 16,000 others to flee their homes, the Indian Ocean island nation’s office for disaster management said in a statement.

A night of heavy rainfall resulted in three rivers bursting their banks in the city. At least 50 homes were destroyed while 24,000 people qualify as flood victims, the office said Friday.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina called for calm in an interview with Radio Antsiva, a broadcaster based in the city. He said the building of illegal houses that don’t meet construction standards contributed to the events.

The flooding comes about six weeks after Tropical Storm Chedza swept across Madagascar’s central and northern regions, killing at least 80 people and spurring more than 55,000 to leave their homes. The country is also facing threats from drought-induced starvation and an outbreak of plague.

Local official Hasina Andriamanjato, also speaking on Radio Antsiva on Friday, called on people in flooded areas to evacuate to higher ground. Churches and gymnasiums have been opened to host the displaced, he said.

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