Madagascar mystery rock fall death toll hits 7

The scene of the mystery rock fall in the Madagascar capital Antananarivo on February 18, 2018. Seven people were confirmed killed in the tragedy. RIVONALA RAZAFISON | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Malagasy authorities Tuesday put the death toll from a mystery rock fall in the capital Antananarivo at seven.

Rescue and recovery operations were continuing at the scene of what resembled a theatre of an unprecedented tragedy.

The massive rock on Sunday night detached itself from the cliff named Ampamarinana and went downward, crashing buildings and everything inside.

Different families

Officials said the seven people killed were members of different families. Seven other people were reported injured.

Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana visited the scene of the tragedy and ordered the immediate evacuation from the disaster prone-area.

At least nine families were evacuated following the directive.

Mr Solonandrasana further directed the Madagascar Bureau for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC) to closely monitor the situation.

Experts at the Antananarivo’s Geophysics Observatory Institute (IOGA) warned of more possible rock falls. They said many fissures were detected inside the rocks dominating the Ampamarinana’s cliff and the persistent rains on the Malagasy highlands could impact them.

Historical records

Authorities confirmed the site was unsuitable for housing development and that many residents constructed houses there without the municipality's clearance.

The Ampamarinana cliff is a historic heritages in Madagascar.

According to the historical records, Queen Ranavalona I ordered Christians to be thrown alive over the Ampamarinana’s rocks during the crackdown against the faith in the 19th Century.

Ampamarinana loosely translates to where someone/something is thrown over.

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