Tropical cyclone Batsirai is expected to hit the eastern coast of Madagascar on Friday with heavy rain and strong winds, spreading over much of the central parts of the island through the weekend, weather forecasts indicate.
Currently, Cyclone Batsirai is just north of the volcanic islands of Mauritius and Reunion.
Madagascar´s National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) predicts that Cyclone Batsirai could affect more than 595,000 and displace more than 140,000 others.
As a preventive measure, the country´s Council of Ministers ordered the closure of all schools and universities Friday.
It also declared Friday a day off in the red zones, with all administrative offices closed.
In the private sector, only businesses deemed essential will be able to work, including pharmacies, clinics and ambulances.
Batsirai follows the Tropical Storm Ana that last week killed scores in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar.
A low-pressure system initially formed over the east coast of Madagascar evolved into a moderate tropical storm, named Ana, making landfall in Angoche district, Nampula province, in Mozambique and also affecting Malawi.