Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not a Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's day is usually a day of surprises. Well, so was this year's 14 of February in Madagascar, but not happy surprises. In stead of postcards with hearts and roses and lovely-dovey SMS'es we got the following messages:

Monday 13 February 2012

4:46 PM: From French Consulat: Strong wind and rainfall, French schools closed.
4:50 PM: Airport closed until further notice.
5:07 PM: From American Embassy: Embassy Closed tomorrow. Stock up on supplies.
6:12 PM: American School Closed, everyone advised to stay home.
6:35 PM: Cyclone will hit at 3 AM with 275 km wind speeds on north east coast, more than 200 mm rainfall
9:33 PM: From Malagasy government (better late than never!): Imminent Danger. All establishments in Tana closed by decreed.

Tuesday 14 February 2012, 8:35 PM
Happy Valentines Madagascar. Candle light dinner for everyone because no electricity, no Intenet either. Very strong winds, and a lot of rain, but thank goodness not too much damage in Tana.

Personally I was not in Tana but in the field some 400 km inland from the coast. I did get a little nervous of all those messages, but in the end it was not too bad where we were. Here's some action pictures I took.

Tree falling on road sign (one of the few left in the country)

Oops! There goes a roof. sheet.

Thursday 16 February 8:30 PM: Internet is back on. The sad balance of Giovanna is 19 dead and 17.000 affected. Many rice paddy fields or inondated and crops destroyed. A lot of trees, already scarce in this country, did not survive. Nor did some telephone poles, houses, rooft tops, publicity signs and bus shelters. 

Giovanna, I wish you a very unhappy Valentine's day!

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