The Island of Madagascar, east of Africa, has been hit pretty hard by Cyclone Ivan. Madagascar has been a popular traveler’s destination due to its natural beauty and unique wildlife. The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species.
Cyclone Ivan made landfall on the island Februrary 18th, and 28 deaths have already been confirmed. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers are just now beginning to gain access to the parts of the island most heavily damaged. The capital city of Antanarivo has approximately 18,000 people displaced and country wide figures estimate 300,000 effected by the storm.
A country that depends largely on tourism and agriculture, Madagascar has also been suffering with large international debt. A population of 7.5 million in 1975 (the last year they had a census), lives primarily in the rural areas out side of the capital city.
A wonderful website that discusses the variety of wildlife and vegetation on Madagascar can be found at www.WildMadagascar.org. Notable adventures on the island include surfing, wildlife tours involving the local carnivores called Fossa and Eco-travel.