Madagascar authorities sought to regain contact with southern parts of this Indian Ocean island Monday, a day after a powerful cyclone destroyed homes and caused flooding before heading toward the African mainland.
Cyclone Ivan was expected to make landfall in Mozambique by Wednesday, prompting fears it will worsen already widespread flooding in that poor southern African nation. The flooding is the worst in Mozambique since 2001, when 800 people died.
Ivan — the second big cyclone of the season — lashed the southern tip of Madagascar on Sunday with winds of up to 125 miles per hour, Madagascar's Disaster Response Management Office said Monday.
The office said there was no news from Sainte Marie, the southern coastal town that bore the brunt of the storm, because radio and telephone links were cut. At least nine people were reported trapped in a collapsed hotel there, but it was unclear if they were alive.
At least two people were confirmed dead in the town of Fenenerive East, where many buildings were destroyed, and hundreds more were affected in other towns in the path of the cyclone.
The government sent a helicopter on Monday to survey the worst hit areas. It said every area hit by the cyclone had experienced flooding.
Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island, regularly suffers from cyclones at this time of year. Last season was the worst on record, with six cyclones that killed some 150 people. Thirteen people were reported killed by Cyclone Fame earlier this month.