Tropical Cyclone Hellen
(11:30am Monday morning- Madagascar time)
If you can’t see it… we’re that massive island (the world’s 4th largest in fact) underneath this storm! Our city is the “pin mark” in the NW corner of the picture.
Cyclone Hellen is building in intensity and is now a category 4 with winds approximately 142 miles/hour at the eye of the storm. It’s moving incredibly slow at just 3-5miles per hour so the potential for major damage is huge. We’ve had steady rain for 36 hours without a break and the wind has really picked up in the last 18 hours. It made landfall earlier this morning as the expected course shifted and hit about 50 miles south of us… right between us and the remote fishing village of Mahabana. Mahabana sits right on the coastline and is on a very narrow peninsula about a 4-5 minute walk from ocean to mangrove channel. The houses in Mahabana are all made of palm-leaf with a sand floor. During weather like this, often the waves will crash into the village and continue through to the mangrove channel on the opposite side. This time around, there’s a cement structure for the first time ever in which people can seek refuge in this remote village.
The kids have a “cyclone day” from school and we’ve cancelled our prenatal program at the maternity center unless any of the women are brave enough to walk in this weather. The power is going out intermittently and we expect this to continue in the coming hours– though this is a bit of a regular occurrence for us anyway. Thankfully we still have water. We’ve opened our house up to friends and their families as our house is extremely strong and should withstand the remaining storm without problems. Please continue to pray for our region of Madagascar and the thousands of people who live in substandard housing!
Last week, Gavin (3) kept asking God to bring rain. Today he’s screaming and asking God to “make the rain stop!” We’ll keep you updated as we are able.