Storm Ana: Death toll keeps increasing in Southern Africa

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70 people have now been confirmed dead as a results of tropical storm Ana which hit several southern African countries, latest figures from authorities in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar on Thursday (27th January) say.

Authorities say, some 41 people were killed in Madagascar, 18 in Mozambique and 11 in Malawi. Though the storm also hit Zimbabwe, no deaths were reported.

Governments and relief agencies in the three countries are still assessing the extent of damage caused by the heavy rains that began last week along the Indian Ocean coast and in the Mozambique Channel.

thousands of houses have been damaged with Bridges collapsing over swollen rivers, sweeping away cars and their occupants. The floods also swept away livestock and drowned fields, destroying the livelihoods of some inhabitants.

In Madagascar, 110,000 people were forced to leave their homes. In the capital Antananarivo, gymnasiums and schools were requisitioned and turned into emergency accommodation.

"We just brought the essentials," Berthine Razafiarisoa, 49, who is staying with her family of ten in a gymnasium, told AFP.

After crossing the Indian Ocean, Ana hit northern and central Mozambique. More than 10,000 houses were affected, as well as dozens of hospitals and schools, and electrical infrastructure. The government and the United Nations estimate that 500,000 people in several provinces have been affected.

According to the country's meteorological institute, the rains will continue in the coming days and another storm is expected by the end of the week. Four to six cyclones are expected to hit the region by the end of the rainy season in March.

In neighbouring Malawi, the government has declared a state of natural disaster. Much of the country is still in darkness since the beginning of the week. Flash floods forced power companies to shut down generators. Supplies have gradually resumed over the past two days, but many electrical structures have been destroyed.

"Our priority is to restore power to health facilities and schools," the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom) said in a statement.

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