The Seychelles declares a state of emergency as the picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago grapples with a devastating combination of flooding and a massive explosion near the capital, Victoria. The catastrophic events have tragically resulted in three fatalities due to the floods and left scores of individuals injured from the explosion.
Heavy rainfall, starting Wednesday evening, led to flooding primarily in the north of the main island of Mahe. Tragically, two individuals lost their lives when they were trapped in their homes by the rising waters. The flooding also wreaked havoc, washing away parts of roads, causing landslides, and displacing families from their homes.
In a shocking turn of events, a huge blast occurred at an explosives depot in the industrial area of Providence, located approximately 7 kilometres southeast of the capital. The explosion, which took place around 2 a.m. on Thursday, resulted in mostly minor injuries to 178 people, according to the health ministry. Despite the destruction of buildings, flattened trees, and a large crater, there were no reported deaths from the explosion. Seychelles declares a state of emergency following this unprecedented incident as the nation grapples with the aftermath of the blast and concurrent flooding.
President Wavel Ramkalawan, citing the flooding and the explosion, announced the emergency. The directive ordered the closure of schools and urged people to stay at home to facilitate emergency services and essential workers in their duties.
The blast, causing “massive damage,” and the floods, leading to “major destruction,” prompted the president to describe the aftermath as akin to experiencing a war. President Ramkalawan expressed shock at the scale of the devastation and announced an investigation into whether the construction company housing the explosives had taken proper precautions.
Government minister Jean-Francois Ferrari, who visited the blast site, described the explosion as “huge” and “loud,” emphasizing that the situation was controlled despite the disaster.
As Seychelles, a significant tourist destination, grapples with this unprecedented crisis, the international airport and ferry services between islands remain operational to facilitate travel during the state of emergency. The archipelago, known for its stunning landscapes and azure waters, faces a challenging recovery process.
The region has experienced a series of deadly flooding incidents in recent weeks, with Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan all affected. According to an international team of scientists, the catastrophic rains in East Africa have been linked to human-caused climate change, intensifying the impact of the weather phenomenon. Now in a state of emergency, Seychelles joins the list of nations grappling with the consequences of extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.