Reunion Island will go into purple cyclone alert at 6 a.m. local time, 3 a.m. in mainland France, decides the prefect

Switching to purple alert means that emergency services will no longer be able to intervene.



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A Météo France meteorologist shows Cyclone Belal on a screen, a few hours before it hits Reunion Island, January 14, 2024 in Paris.  (RICHARD BOUHET / AFP)

It is the violent winds, forecast at more than 200 km/h on the island during the passage of cyclone Belal, which justify the decision of the prefect of Reunion to place the island on purple cyclone alert, the highest level of hazard. This measure will come into force at 6 a.m. local time, i.e. 3 a.m. Paris time. Cyclone Belal is expected between 7 and 9 a.m. on the island.

Concretely, for the populations, “this implies strict confinement of the entire population, including emergency and security services and all agents mobilized for crisis management (only authorized to travel under red alert). All circulation is formally prohibited for any reason whatsoever and until further notice. The population is informed that, during this phase, there is no longer any possibility of immediate relief.”, writes the prefect. The island’s approximately 900,000 inhabitants have already been confined since mid-afternoon.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal went to the crisis unit located at Place Beauvau early in the evening, and assured the island’s residents of his support in a tweet posted on the social network X.

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