Tropical Storm Anna has killed at least 86 people across southern and eastern Africa, and as the wreckage of the region begins, a new storm called Batsirai threatens it.
Storm Anna passed through Madakaskar on January 22 after heavy rains. The country declared a state of disaster on Thursday night and announced that the death toll had risen to 48 as residents died in landslides and the collapse of buildings carried by the torrent.
The storm then hit Mozambique on January 24th where 18 people were reported dead and continued to Malawi where it caused a major power outage. Malawi authorities reported on Thursday that 20 people had died in the storm. In all three countries, Hurricane Anna hit hundreds of thousands of people, causing severe flooding and devastation, according to United Nations agencies.
“This storm is a stark reminder to us that the climate crisis is a real reality,” said Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Mozambique.
The region has been hit by severe storms and cyclones in recent years, destroying homes, infrastructure and crops, causing large population displacements.
Some of those communities have not yet recovered from previous disasters and are once again under attack. Experts point out that storms are becoming stronger and more frequent due to climate change, and rising sea levels are making coastal regions even more vulnerable.
Storm Anna has passed, but a new one called Batsirai is currently heading to the east coast of Africa. The Mete France Meteorological Service said on Friday that Batsirai was a smaller system, at least for now, as it was days away, not threatening a group of islands east of Madagascar, including the French overseas island of Réunion.
However, meteorologists warn that it is not known how Batsirai will develop, ie whether it will strengthen in intensity. Mozambique National Meteorological Institute warns that Batsirai still has the potential to grow into a major tropical storm.