Aftermath of bad weather-Disaster task force set up


President Michel presiding over the meeting yesterday

On Sunday afternoon, accompanied by the Minister for Environment Dr Rolph Payet, President Michel toured some of the affected areas to see for himself the damage caused by flooding, landslide and rock fall.

After the tour the President stopped at the DRDM (Department of Risk and Disaster Management) command centre at Mont Fleuri to review some of the images that had been filmed and take stock of the coordination work being carried out there.

He said the extraordinary meeting yesterday with the ministers and some key technicians was to better assess the disaster situation and explore the best way to address it.

“Even though we were expecting heavy rain no one had expected it to be that intense and the damage caused so serious, bringing with it a lot of misery and suffering for people in these affected areas,” said the President.

Mr Michel said in the wake of the unprecedented disaster of the weekend and with the possibility of more rain, it is important that all ministries and agencies join their effort on site to seek ways to mitigate the impact of any other possible disasters.

The President also said it is important now to continue assessing the damage caused and to help all the people affected and find ways to minimise as much as possible the impact of such extreme weather in the future.

“There is a lot of work awaiting us and a lot of resources will be required and we should be prepared and ready to mobilise as much resources as possible to help all the people who have been severely affected,” added the President.

“The situation is serious. There has been a lot of damage to many houses. I was pained by the suffering of the people I met,” said the President.

“We will do everything we can to help and to assess the level of damage of the affected areas. For this reason I am setting up a task force to address the emerging issues concerning the disaster,” said President Michel following the meeting.

The President said the task force will be chaired by the designated Minister and Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sport Vincent Meriton and will also comprise the Minister for Environment and Energy, Professor Rolph Payet; Minister for Land Use and Housing, Christian Lionnet; the principal secretaries for Community Development Denis Rose and Finance Steve Fanny; the leader of government business in the National Assembly, Marie-Antoinette Rose; the chief executives of the Seychelles Land Transport Agency Parinda Herath and the Seychelles Agricultural Agency Marc Naiken; a representative of the Red Cross, Public Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The President commended the National Risk and Disaster Management Committee, chaired by Professor Payet, and the DRDM for the excellent work they did during the weekend and asked them to intensify their effort to ensure that further damage does not occur in the affected areas.

“We will set up a National Disaster Relief Fund imminently in order to raise local and international financial  assistance for the families who were left without a home during the floods, as well as those who will need to repair their homes, as well as the surrounding infrastructure,” said the President.

Details concerning the National Disaster Relief Fund will be provided by the task force once the necessary legal framework has been put into place.

Mr Michel also thanked all the emergency services, the SPDF, the Red Cross, the Police, members of the National Assembly as well as all the district brigade volunteers who joined forces to help the people of the four districts, namely, Cascade, Pointe Larue, Anse Aux Pins and Au Cap.

“There was a remarkable team spirit to help the people who were in need. The solidarity of the Seychellois people was clear for all to see. Even people who do not live in those areas came to help. We are proud of the strong spirit of solidarity among our people,” said President Michel.

In an interview after the meeting Minister Meriton said the task force will address emerging issues from the weekend’s heavy rain.

Among the issues that will be tackled are public infrastructure such as retaining walls which have sustained severe damage, new walls that need to be erected, drains and roads, housing, a number of which have been severely damaged and need to be assessed, other personal issues where properties have been damaged or lost.

“The task force will assess all the damages and then make a proposal which it will submit to government,” he said.

Minister Meriton said the task force will work closely with the DRDM. He noted that it is through working with the DRDM that different levels of need in public infrastructure, personal needs of the people affected, agricultural losses have been identified.

He noted that the task force will start work immediately with a meeting with the DRDM to give a preliminary evaluation of the situation at district level.

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