From: Reuters
Published February 26, 2008 08:18 AM

Death toll from Madagascar cyclone hits 60

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Cyclone Ivan killed 60 people when it tore through Madagascar last week, officials said on Tuesday, more than doubling the previous death toll of 22.

"More than 200,000 people are affected," Jean Rakotomalala, head of the country's National Office of Disasters and Risk Management, told reporters.

"Most of them still need urgent help in many areas ... mostly the south, the north, the east coast."

Bruno Maes, the local UNICEF representative, said the United Nations would announce a new appeal by the end of the week.

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Ivan, one of the biggest cyclones ever to hit Madagascar, was packing winds that topped 125 mph (200 kph) when it swept onto the giant Indian Ocean island's east coast early last week.

Six cyclones struck Madagascar last year, killing at least 150 people. Scientists say warming seas linked to climate change are likely to increase the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones in coming decades, and some suspect they already have.

(Reporting by Fanja Saholiarisoa; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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