Seychelles steps up disaster preparedness following Dec. 7 floodings and blast
Heavy rainfall caused severe damage to roads, flooding, and landslides, with damage to several properties and three people died.(Seychelles Nation)
The Disaster Risk Management Division (DRMD) in Seychelles is remaining on alert in case of further disasters while work at the Providence Industrial Estate after the December 7 explosion has moved to the recovery phase.
The statement was made by the chief risk management officer, Daniel Cetoupe, in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in which the division gave an overview of the work being done in the aftermath of the explosion and damage by heavy rainfall.
The country suffered two major blows on December 7. Heavy rainfall caused severe damage to roads, flooding, and landslides, with damage to several properties and three people died.
The same day, an explosion of four containers of explosives at a quarrying company in the Providence Industrial estate caused massive damage to residential homes and commercial buildings, along the east coast of the main island of Mahe.
"In all, about 54 households have been affected by the severe flooding and landslides in the northern region, while a further 63 have been affected by the explosion, with 337 people displaced from their homes," Cetoupe said.
|Building damaged by the explosion at the Providence Industrial estate. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
The DRMD is continuing with recovery efforts for those affected by these two disasters and Cetoupe said that measures are being put in place to ensure preparedness for any eventualities. Contingency plans are also being drawn up in case of any repeat of such disasters.
The Division has held numerous training sessions, regularly updated, as they build up the emergency preparedness.
Cetoupe said he is pleased with the response of Seychelles, to not one, but two disasters at once.
"Year after year, we at DRMD, have always worked to be prepared, made plans, built the capacity of our staff, had training exercises, and looked for resources, and this was one of the moments when all that came into play and we had to step in to coordinate a response," said Cetoupe.
Cetoupe explained that by the time of the second incident, the explosion at around 2 a.m., the DRMD was already at work with the heavy rain in the north since 10 pm the previous day.
The division remains on alert to other potential natural disasters caused by the rainfall, which is continuing across Mahe.
Cetoupe said Seychelles is already receiving help from the World Bank for post-disaster management. At the same time, Crimario (Critical Maritime Route Indo-Pacific) of the European Union was in Seychelles at the time of the incident conducting training with the DRMD staff. Crimario is also giving its support.