In a cyclone-prone country like Madagascar, being prepared for disaster makes all the difference. The Malagasy National Disaster Office organizes annual simulation exercises in vulnerable areas to test the preparedness of local authorities and communities. However, in Brickaville, on the east coast of Madagascar, power lines had been down for two weeks and news that the town lay directly in the path of Cyclone Giovanna. The cyclone destroyed and damaged thousands of homes and killed at least more

At least 10 people have died after Cyclone Giovanna struck Madagascar but details of its impact on the regions which bore the brunt of the category-four tropical storm remain sketchy, as communications and electricity supplies have been cut. The cyclone made landfall in the early hours of 14 February south of the port town of Toamasina and then carved a path through heavily populated areas towards the capital, Antananarivo, reportedly uprooting trees, damaging infrastructure, causing more

The party of Marc Ravalomanana has decided to suspend its role in Madagascar's unity government, after a plane carrying the exiled leader home was turned away, a top official said. The main parties on the Indian Ocean island formed a power-sharing government in November, with strongman Andry Rajoelina remaining president until new elections are held, in theory later this year.

For the last seven years, the women of Fitampito have been defying tradition by helping their husbands to farm. Local traditions did not permit women to work the land. But that era is over, reports Farm Radio Weekly. Since women started farming in a few isolated villages in the High Matsiatra region, yields have improved significantly. In three years, rice yields have increased from two tonnes per hectare to five tonnes.

Former Madagascar President Didier Ratsiraka has arrived home from a nine-year exile in France. His return follows the formation of a a unity government in the crisis-hit Indian Ocean island nation. Mr Ratsiraka, 75, has lived in luxurious villa in Paris since 2002 and took part in talks to end the political crisis that has gripped Madagascar since 2009. However, members of his party refused to sign the roadmap to new elections put forward by mediators from the 15-member Southern African more