state of emergency declared after floods and explosion, which left at least 66 injured

The explosion took place on the island of Mahé, where 87% of the country’s population lives. Residents are invited to stay at home.



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A building destroyed by an explosion in Mahé, Seychelles, December 7, 2023. (MERVYN MARIE / AFP)

The Seychelles archipelago declared a state of emergency and urged its residents to stay at home after an explosion at an explosives warehouse “which caused major damage” and floods “caused by heavy rain”, Thursday December 7. The explosion left at least 66 injured, according to a provisional report given by the country’s president, Wavel Ramkalawan, who said he “shocked” during a press conference.

The site affected by the explosion is located in an industrial zone on Mahé, the largest island in the archipelago, where 87% of the population of almost 100,000 lives. The detonation caused enormous damage on site and in the surrounding area, added the presidency without further details.

Under the state of emergency, “all schools will be closed” And “Only workers employed in essential sectors will be allowed to travel, to allow emergency services to do their crucial work”, specified the presidency. The international airport and ferries connecting the islands of the archipelago continue to operate, said the official Visit Seychelles website on.

Floods favored by El Niño

The public television channel SBC, for its part, confirmed that heavy rains had caused significant damage on Wednesday evening in several areas of Mahé. Photos posted by the channel on Facebook show collapsed houses, landslides and cracks on the island’s roads.

East Africa and the Indian Ocean have been affected for weeks by torrential rains and floods linked to the El Niño phenomenon, which have displaced more than a million people in Somalia and caused more than 300 deaths in the region. The area is very vulnerable to climate change, and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense.

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