Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

A state of emergency has been declared in Seychelles, after a massive explosion at an industrial area on the main island, Mahé, as well as flooding.

The blast ripped through the zone, flattening commercial buildings and wrecking nearby housing, leaving a trail of devastation along Mahé island’s east coast.

Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan has ordered everyone except essential workers to stay at home.

A number of people have been injured.

Several people have also been evacuated from their homes.

The blast happened just after 02:00 local time (22:00 GMT Wednesday) at a construction and quarrying company, where explosives were being stored in four containers.

“For the last 10 years there were major concerns about the stock of explosives [being held],” President Ramkalawan is quoted by the Seychelles Nation newspaper as saying.

“Four containers of explosives blew off… My heart is heavy right now and I know many families are being affected. I was shocked to see Providence, Petit Paris and Cascade in such a state. It was as if we went through a war.”

The international airport was also damaged, despite being 4km (2.5 miles) away. Schools are shut and hospitals closed to all but emergency cases.

The only movement allowed is into and out of the holiday islands.

“The Seychelles international Airport is still operational and ferry services between islands are operating for visitors,” the country’s official account said on X.

The UK government has advised its citizens on the island of Mahé to remain indoors until further notice.

Exceptionally heavy rain overnight has caused severe flooding and landslides, adding to pressure on the island’s response teams.

Three people died when their homes were destroyed.

The deluge has caused sewage to flow into the ocean and people are being advised not to swim.

President Ramkalawan called the twin disasters a “calamity” for the country and appealed for people to show solidarity to those affected.

By Joy

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