East Africa Flooding: Tropical Storms Ana and Batsirai

Succession of storms brings devastation to Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi in January and February 2022

At least 77 people have been confirmed dead and thousands of homes damaged after severe floods in East Africa.

The flooding started in Madagascar in mid-January and was worsened by the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana, which also caused flooding in other south-east African countries. Then, as the cost of the flooding began to be understood, another major storm, Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, formed over the Indian Ocean at the start of February – leading to more damage and loss of life in a region still recovering from the devastating cyclones of 2019.

Figure 1: Satellite-observed rainfall animation over Madagascar and south-east Africa from 21 January to 6 February. Data source NASA GPM, 2022 (video produced by JBA Risk Management, 2022).

Impacts by country


Heavy rain started falling on Madagascar on 17 January 2022, causing flooding and landslides which led to at least 10 deaths and hundreds of people being displaced (Floodlist, 2022b).

This was exacerbated by the arrival of Storm Ana on 22 January. Madagascar was the first country to feel the effects of the tropical storm, which originated as a low-pressure system moving west over the Indian Ocean (ReliefWeb, 2022c).

Flooding caused by the storm affected ten provinces on the island (Analamanga, Mangoro, Atsinanana, Boeny, Diana, Matsiatra Ambony, Sofia, Vakinankaratra, Analanjirofo and Itasy) with over 70,000 people displaced from their homes. At least 55,000 of them were in the badly-hit Analamanga province. In all, over 110,000 people are thought to have been affected in some way by the event (Floodlist, 2022b).

France24 reports that schools and gyms have been turned into emergency shelters in the capital Antananarivo, which has seen residents fleeing their homes with only what they could carry (France24, 2022).

A pressing concern for the government and NGOs is food security, which has worsened in Madagascar as a result of repeated flooding in recent years. So far, at least 20,000 households that are reliant on agriculture have had their livelihoods affected (ReliefWeb, 2022b).

Tropical Cyclone Batsirai further worsened the flooding after making landfall in Mananjary district on the south-east coast of Madagascar on the evening of 5 February, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall that have reportedly destroyed entire villages (BBC, 2022a). At least 20 fatalities have been reported so far from the tropical cyclone, and over 55,000 people have been displaced as a result of flooding and landslides associated with Batsirai (Aljazeera, 2022).

As an island nation, Madagascar is no stranger to tropical storms, but those reaching Category 4 used to be much rarer. However, eight of the 12 Category 4 storms to have made landfall since records began in 1911 have hit Madagascar since 2000, making this a growing challenge for a nation where many already live in poverty (CNN, 2022).

Figure 2: Map showing locations of observed flooding (pinpoints) along the Ikopa River in Antananarivo, Madagascar, following Storm Ana, in comparison to JBA Risk Management’s 1-in-200-year flood maps for river (RF) and surface water flooding (SW) at 30m resolution.


The next country to be affected by Storm Ana was Mozambique. The storm made landfall on 24 January, in Nampula province, going on to affect the provinces of Zambezia and Tete and to a lesser extent Niassa, Sofala and Cabo Delgado (ReliefWeb, 2022a).

Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Institute (INGD) reports that 20 people have been killed by the storm, with 196 suffering injuries and over 10,000 houses either damaged or destroyed. The INGD is sheltering 10,814 people in 20 accommodation centres, whilst 47,000 children have had their education disrupted by school closures (AllAfrica).

Severe flooding was reported in Zambezia after the Licungo River broke its banks. Widespread flooding has also been reported in the districts of Doa, Zumbu, Tete and Mutarara in Tete province (Floodlist, 2022b). Several bridges have been destroyed, with the government currently faced with the cost of building metal bridges to replace collapsed concrete structures (AllAfrica, 2022).

These floods come less than three years after Mozambique was devastated by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which displaced tens of thousands of families, destroyed 780,000 hectares of crops and left nearly a million people facing food shortages amidst a nutrition crisis (Unicef, 2019).

Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario made a statement highlighting the fact that his country is facing extreme weather events of increasing frequency and intensity. He says, “We are a country that does not contribute much for climate change, and yet we are one of the countries that suffer the most from its impact.” (BBC, 2022b)


Another nation still in recovery after Cyclones Idai and Kenneth is Malawi, which was hit again by Storm Ana. The country’s government announced a state of disaster on 25 January, after 11 people died and another 107 were injured by the storm (Floodlist 2022b).

As local people counted the cost of their crops being destroyed, towns were left in darkness with power cuts lasting several days. Thousands of displaced and injured people are currently being housed in 44 emergency camps (BBC, 2022b).

Enhancing flood resilience in Africa

The general increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and flooding under climate change further emphasises the importance of regional initiatives in managing and mitigating the risk across the African continent.

JBA offers flood mapping and probabilistic flood modelling worldwide, including for Africa, which provides flood risk insights at any location globally. This can help re/insurers, financial organisations, and the International Development sector to better understand, manage and build resilience to flood risk.

To find out more about our flood data and how it can help you, get in touch with the team.

This report is covered by JBA’s website terms – please read them here.


Alzajeera, 2022. Cyclone Batsirai: At least 20 killed in Madagascar tropical storm. [online] Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/5/cyclone-batsirai-approaches-madagascar-poses-serious-threat [Accessed 7 February 2022]

AllAfrica, 2022. Mozambique: Twenty Die As Cyclone Ana Hits Mozambique. [online] Available at: https://allafrica.com/stories/202202030651.html [Accessed 7 February 2022]

BBC News, 2022a. Cyclone Batsirai: Whole villages swept away in Madagascar. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-60264389 [Accessed 7 February 2022]

BBC News, 2022b. Storm Ana kills dozens in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-60157537.amp [Accessed 7 February 2022]

CNN, 2022. Batsirai forecast: Rapidly intensified cyclone bears down on Madagascar. [online] Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/02/weather/batsirai-cyclone-forecast-madagascar-africa/index.html [Accessed 7 February 2022]

FloodList, 2022a. Madagascar and Mozambique – Fatalities Reported After Tropical Storm Ana Triggers Floods. [online] Available at: https://floodlist.com/africa/storm-ana-floods-madagascar-mozambique-malawi-zimbabwe-january-2022 [Accessed 7 February 2022]

FloodList, 2022b. Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi – Tropical Storm Ana Death Toll Climbs. [online] Available at: https://floodlist.com/africa/madagascar-mozambique-malawi-tropical-storm-ana-update-january-2022 [Accessed 7 February 2022]

France24, 2022. Tropical Storm Ana strikes southern Africa, leaving death and destruction in its wake. [online] Available at: https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220127-tropical-storm-ana-leaves-dozens-dead-in-southern-africa [Accessed 7 February 2022]

NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), 2022. Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) V06. NASA’s Precipitation Data Directory. Available at: https://gpm.nasa.gov/data/directory [Accessed 7 February 2022].

ReliefWeb, 2022a. Mozambique: Tropical Storm Ana Flash Update No.6 (As of 30 January 2022). [online] Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/mozambique/mozambique-tropical-storm-ana-flash-update-no6-30-january-2022 [Accessed 7 February 2022]

ReliefWeb, 2022b. The International Federation of the Red Cross take Action for Tropical Storm Ana. [online] Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/mozambique/international-federation-red-cross-take-action-tropical-storm-ana [Accessed 7 February 2022]

ReliefWeb, 2022c. Tropical Storm Ana – Jan 2022. [online] Available at: https://reliefweb.int/disaster/st-2022-000088-moz [Accessed 7 February 2022]

UNICEF, 2019. Mozambique: Children living in storm-affected areas face worsening food insecurity and nutrition crisis six months after Cyclone Idai. [online] Available at: https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/mozambique-children-living-storm-affected-areas-face-worsening-food-insecurity-and [Accessed 7 February 2022]