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Powerful explosion rocks Seychelles amid deadly floods, state of emergency imposed

The blast in Seychelles' Providence area caused "massive damage" by partly or completely destroying several buildings and injuring at least 125 people, according to President Wavel Ramkalawan. However, no casualties were reported in the incident and an investigation has been launched.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Published on: December 08, 2023 11:48 IST
Seychelles is reeling under heavy rainfall and floods that
Image Source : AP Seychelles is reeling under heavy rainfall and floods that have killed three people so far.

The tiny island nation of Seychelles was rocked by a massive explosion at an explosives depot, injuring over 100 people, in the midst of deadly floods in other parts of the country, causing a state of emergency to be issued on Thursday. So far, three people have been killed in the floods, said Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan.

The blast occurred in the industrial area of Providence, close to Seychelles' capital Victoria, destroying buildings and flattening trees. No casualties were reported in the explosion, although it resulted in a flurry of people being hospitalised for injuries suffered in the incident. According to the President, the blast caused "massive damage" as floods caused "major destruction" in the country.

Ramkalawan said that four containers of explosives caused the blast and an investigation has been launched into whether the construction company housing the explosives had taken proper precautions with their storage. "At the moment we don't really know what happened... The explosion was so, so big, so loud. We have not recorded any deaths as a result of this explosion. All in all, it's a disaster, but everything is under control," said minister Jean-Francois Ferrari.

The explosion came after heavy rain and flooding late Wednesday, which mostly struck the main island of Mahe. Many houses were flooded and parts of roads were washed away, while landslides were reported in several areas. Two people died after they were trapped in their homes due to the floods, according to authorities.

India Tv - Cracks appearing in the road after the massive blast in Seychelles.

Image Source : APCracks appearing in the road after the massive blast in Seychelles.

State of emergency imposed across Seychelles

Ramkalawan announced that as part of the state of emergency, all schools have been ordered to remain closed and people to stay in their homes so as to provide adequate room for emergency services and essential workers to do their jobs. This came in light of the massive explosion, which he said left a "large crater" in the area, and left several buildings partly or completely destroyed.

"The damages are huge and many families have moved out of their homes for security reasons. It was as if we went through a war," said the Seychelles President, adding that he was shocked to see the aftermath of the blast in Providence. At least 125 people have been injured in the blast, he added.

According to authorities, the international airport of Seychelles and ferry services between islands were still operating to allow people to travel if they had to during the state of emergency. The 100,000-people-strong island nation is not the only country to experience raging floods.

Floods in East Africa

Seychelles is a major tourist destination and is an archipelago off the east coast of Africa. Most of the East African region has experienced heavy rainfall and deadly floods in recent times, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people across the region and the displacement of millions since late October.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan have all experienced raging floods that have been made worse by the El Niño phenomenon. More than 130 people have died in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

(with inputs from AP)

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