By Christophe Van Der Perre
SAMPONA COMMUNE, MADAGASCAR , Feb 12 (Reuters) – Standing at the side of a highway in the south of Madagascar, 25-year-old water seller Masy is grateful for the heavy rains that fell last week when Cyclone Batsirai hit.
Sampona Commune, where Masy lives with her five children, is in a region that has suffered a severe and prolonged drought and the sudden precipitation means she can sell more water to drivers heading to the city of Ambovombe.
“My job is to sell water. If I manage to sell water, we eat, If I don’t sell any, we sleep (hungry),” she told Reuters from near her makeshift roadside stall.
Masy said for now, she would collect water using jerry cans from a hole near the road. At other times, she would have to buy the water.
She said the rain had filled the hole with about a week’s supply of water, which takes on the brown colour of the surrounding soil.
The island nation of nearly 30 million people was already struggling with food shortages in the south due to the drought and Masy said that on some days she has had to resort to collecting wild plants to eat.
“We are really hungry, we don’t eat for lunch, the evening, we find wild plants and we boil them to eat, and the morning, we don’t eat,” she said.
The death toll from the cyclone stands at 120, according to a tally from the state disaster relief agency. read moreReporting by Christophe Van Der Perre; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Kirsten Donovan