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Tropical Storm Cheneso Causes Loss of Life In Madagascar

Madagascans are facing the wrath of Cheneso, which severely impacted the country and left dozens homeless and stranded in floodwaters and under collapsed bridges. Starting on the 18th of January 2023, it continued till the 29th of January when the world was looking forward to a better year; the Madagascans found themselves in a tumultuous situation and were hoping for the storm to pass. 

Cheneso which started as a tropical cyclone, caused landfalls in several places in Madagascar and created a ruckus with its swirling winds along the island’s west coastline.

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Entire Madagascar was blasted with excessive rainfall that caused flooding with raging winds that lasted for ten days. Before the storm departed, it left 30 people dead, many people went missing, and the damage was significant. 

Cheneso: Its Origin

The RSMC La Reunion first monitored the origin of Cheneso on the 17th of January 2023. It was mainly formed due to a zone of disturbed weather patterns and soon gathered strength and turned into a tropical depression on the 18th of January. After causing landfall in various parts of Madagascar, the storm weakened and turned into an inland depression before entering the Mozambique Channel. 

Later on, the storm again strengthened into a tropical cyclone and moved southeast before it transitioned into a post-tropical depression on January 29, 2023. 

The Meteo France (MRF), traced the actual origin of Cheneso on the southern part of Diego Gracia on January 10, 2023. Soon the Joint Typhoon Center (JTWC) started closely monitoring the track of this particular storm. Their system could detect unfavorable environments that intensified the storm and also warm temperatures of the sea bed. 

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As the storm gradually intensified, it turned into a Category 1 storm which is equivalent to a tropical cyclone as per the Sarrif-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The defined curved pattern of the cyclone caused severe damage near the coast of Madagascar and escalated into a tropical cyclone after being stationary for almost 6 hours. 

As per the JTWC, the winds were 50 knots and with gusts of 65 knots. 

The Aftermath Of Cheneso

As per the Government Office for Risk and Disaster Management, Cheneso has killed almost 138 people, wiped out 1,24,000 homes, and displaced approximately 1,30,000 people. 

Cheneso reached Madagascar on 19th January 2023 as a typical storm that originated in the Indian Ocean. 

The storm put a halt on all sorts of communications and transportation. Schools, offices, and other healthcare facilities have been forced to shut down as the country is flooded with water. The scarcity of fresh food and water supply is another important factor associated with Cheneso. 

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A huge number of people were rendered homeless. According to a survey, 23,600 houses were flooded and approximately 500 homes were entirely destroyed. 

Cheneso had been raging through the entire country with a wind speed of 118-166 km per hour and made rainfall on the 19th of January 2023 with a 110kmph wind speed. Cheneso is considered to be the first of the annual series of tropical storms that form in the Indian Ocean. Extensive flooding and torrid rainfall had forced the locals to take refuge in other places. Rescue missions were in full swing to save those who were trapped under buildings and stuck in flood waters. 

Red Alert Issued In Madagascar

The red alert had been issued in various parts of Northern Madagascar, like Sava, Dana, and Analanjirofo, due to massive rainfall. To support damage assessment the Copernicus Emergency Management system was activated on 25th January. The main motive was to first safeguard those living on the northeast and eastern coast.

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Torrential downpours for 10 days caused the overflow of rivers and other water bodies. Rainfall of about 8-10 inches was observed in the Boeny region. This area is also the one to be severely affected. A few places in Madagascar even reported the rainwater level to be 12 inches. 

Colonel Faly Aritiana stated that houses have been collapsed landslides took place in various parts, which trapped people.

The aftermath of this storm has severely affected the economy of the country. Everything is now being sold at a higher price starting from groceries to day-to-day items. Since communication has been totally cut off, the sudden hike in the prices of the day-to-day commodities has created another difficult situation for the Madagascans. 

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The water level is decreasing very slowly and some roads are even now entirely covered with water. People are traveling by using canoes. Food and other medical supplies have been distributed to the people in need. 

Why is Madagascar so Prone to Climate Change?

Madagascar has a population of about 24.4 million people who face several humanitarian challenges. Floods, drought, and cyclones are common due to their geographical location and climatic conditions. Being situated near the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean basin, this African country is mostly exposed to cyclones. 

Cyclones are not only a threat to the local environment but cause massive destruction and a downfall in the economy. Tropical storms are usually caused by the transformation of water vapor from the ocean to the atmosphere, mainly through evaporation. As the warm and moist air slowly goes upwards, it also cools down rapidly, which releases heat through condensation of the water vapor. 


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Cyclone Cheneso has devastated Madagascar and Mozambique. The lashing out of these sudden storms is mainly because of the imbalance in the natural weather cycle. Deforestation and global warming have led to the depletion of the atmospheric layers, which in turn is affecting our climate severely. The downfall in the economy and the loss of life due to storms and tropical cyclones are unbearable. 

Let us stand by the needy and the helpless people who have faced nature’s wrath. Come, join us. Donate food, clothing, and other medical items and daily commodities, or you can also help them financially. A little help and support from your end can make a huge difference in the lives of the ones affected by Cheneso, at the beginning of the new year. 



World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal. (n.d.). 

Jazeera, A. (2023, January 30). Cyclone in Madagascar kills dozens, displaces tens of thousands. Weather News | Al Jazeera. 

Reuters. (2023, January 27). Tropical Storm Cheneso, ensuing rain kill 16 in Madagascar. 

Overall Green Tropical Cyclone alert  for CHENESO-23 in Madagascar from 18 Jan 2023 04:00 UTC to 19 Jan 2023 04:00 UTC. (n.d.). 

Wikipedia contributors. (2023, February 21). Cyclone Cheneso. Wikipedia.,MFR 

Joshi, A. (2023, February 3). Explained: Cyclone Cheneso that is currently wreaking havoc in Madagascar. News9live.

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