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Floods and Landslides Batter Madagascar 

Madagascar continued to be hit by intense rainfall this week, resulting in serious flooding and several landslides. Severe Tropical Storm Cheneso made landfall in the north-east last week, and had weakened as it pushed south-west across the island. But after reaching the warm waters of the Mozambique channel on Monday, Cheneso restrengthened, achieving tropical cyclone status by Wednesday with sustained wind speeds of 75mph, equivalent to a category 1 hurricane. Unusually, the system remained near-stationary for almost four days, stalling just off the west coast of Madagascar and bringing more than 100mm of rain each day to some coastal areas. Cheneso’s lack of movement resulted in weakening of the system on Thursday, as upwelling of cooler water beneath the storm reduced the energy available to the cyclone, and sustained winds decreased to about 55mph. The storm has now started to accelerate to the south, and begun the process of curving out towards the southern Indian Ocean.