The Seychelles is facing a major crisis after a series of disasters hit the island nation on Thursday. President Wavel Ramkalawan announced a state of emergency and appealed for international assistance to cope with the aftermath of a blast at an explosives depot and severe flooding caused by heavy rains.
The explosion occurred at around 9:30 a.m. local time at the Providence Industrial Estate, where a large stockpile of dynamite and other explosives was stored. The blast was heard across the capital city of Victoria and sent shockwaves and debris flying in all directions. Several buildings and vehicles were damaged and a fire broke out at the site. No casualties have been reported, but authorities have evacuated the area and warned residents to stay away from the scene.
The blast was followed by torrential downpours that triggered flash floods and landslides in several parts of the island. The floods damaged roads, bridges, houses and businesses, and disrupted water and electricity supplies. Some areas were cut off from the rest of the island and many people were stranded or displaced by the rising waters. The Seychelles Meteorological Authority issued a red alert and advised the public to take precautionary measures and avoid unnecessary travel.
President Ramkalawan said the situation was “very serious” and “beyond our control”. He said the government was doing its best to provide relief and assistance to the affected people, but admitted that the country lacked the resources and capacity to deal with such a large-scale emergency. He called on the international community, especially the neighboring countries, to lend a helping hand and support the Seychelles in this time of need.
The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, known for its natural beauty and biodiversity. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, coral bleaching and extreme weather events. The country has been making efforts to protect its environment and promote sustainable development, such as by creating marine protected areas and swapping part of its national debt for nature conservation. However, the recent disasters have exposed the fragility and challenges of the island nation.