Madagascar is on alert following the identification of a low weather pressure system off the north-east coast of the country, which is expected to strengthen in the southwestern Indian Ocean basin. The weather system is already causing weather disturbances in northern Madagascar and on the islands of Réunion and Mauritius. It is expected to gain strength during the week as it tracks westward, prior to making landfall on Madagascar on 4 or 5 January 2018 (OCHA, 3 Jan 2018)
Tropical Cyclone AVA reached Madagascar’s northeast coast in the afternoon of 5 January. Heavy rains associated with AVA have been recorded in the north, north-east and east of the country since 3 January. Rising water levels have been observed in the Alaotra Mangoro and Analanjirofo regions, while flooding, interruptions to communications networks and power cuts have been reported in Fokontany Ambinany (Soanierana Ivongo). Preventive evacuations began in Brickaville on 4 January. The Malagasy authorities have issued a red alert (imminent threat) for the regions of Analanjirofo, Atsinanana and Alaotra Mangoro for 4 to 5 January, and Vatovavy Fitovinany for 5 to 6 January. In addition, several districts remain on yellow and green alert.(OCHA, 5 Jan 2018)
Tropical cyclone AVA continued moving south along the eastern coast of the country as Tropical Storm. On 8 January at 0.00 UTC its centre was located off the eastern coast of Madagascar, 200 km north-east of Taolagnaro city (Madagascar) and 800 km south-west of La Reunion island, and it had maximum sustained winds speed of 74 km/h (Tropical Storm). Over the next 24 hours, it is forecast to keep moving, heading south away from Madagascar and weakening. Heavy rain, strong winds and a storm surge could still affect southern and eastern regions of Madagascar. (ECHO, 8 Jan 2018)
According to the Malagasy authorities, as of 9 January, about 123,000 people had been directly or indirectly impacted by Tropical Cyclone Ava, with 24,800 people evacuated, 33 dead and 22 missing.
The cyclone damaged 19 health centres and affected 141 schools, including 77 classrooms used as shelter for displaced people. About 34,640 children are out of school.
Road access to some south-eastern and southwestern parts of the country has been cut off. River levels have started to moderately decrease in Antananarivo and in the south-eastern coast.
However, evacuated people are still staying in several temporary sites. Remaining displaced people are mainly in Antananarivo and in the south-eastern coast; while almost all displaced people in Brickaville and Toamasina have already returned to their homes. It is common that the number of displaced people reduces in the days following a cyclone, as people return home if there are no floods or landslide threat. (OCHA, 8 Jan 2018)