Bad weather causes havoc in east Mahe


28-January-2013

After a severe battering by heavy rains yesterday morning – described as a tropical depression by the authorities –  emergency broadcasts were sent just before mid-day to warn people of the ongoing bad weather and of places that were seen as dangerous.

A tour of the east region of Mahé by a Seychelles Nation team discovered severe flooding in places like Pointe Larue, Anse Aux Pins, and Au Cap, while all along the roads terraces had fallen onto the road to the point of causing blockades in some places.

The Montagne Posée road was blocked momentarily by a small landslide of red earth, but was then cleared by an excavator and traffic flow was later restored.

At Pointe Larue and Anse Aux Pins, roads were so flooded that ditches could not be seen and there were reports of at least one vehicle driving into a ditch.

Flooded roads at Pointe Larue (below) and Anse Aux Pins

With water there at waist-level or higher, some people were seen to be trying to at least keep the water from flooding their property, while others – most in vain – were desperately trying to keep the water from completely flooding their houses.

At Anse Aux Pins, at least one stalled car was seen abandoned in the flooded and practically impassable road, obviously due to a flooded engine.

Bus services by the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation to the south region of Mahe were suspended, and by the time Nation went to press it had still not been restored.

The grim sights were seen in person by the Minister for Environment and Energy, Prof. Rolph Payet, who was carrying out aerial surveillance from a helicopter.

Minister Payet said they would need as many excavators as possible to clear the debris, and remove blockades so that the water would drain away.

The principal secretary for environment Wills Agricole told Nation that a lot of damages had taken place at housing estates, especially at Anse Aux Pins and Pointe Larue and other places in east Mahe.

“We have had a lot of reports of damaged property, and we have brought together a team comprising the Fire and Rescue Services Agency, department of community development, Red Cross society, department of environment and the police at a command centre located at the headquarters of the department of risk and disaster management to deal with situations as they arise,” he said.

“The heavy rains yesterday morning had coincided with a high tide of 1.8 metres, and this had helped to increase the severity of the flooding. And we expect that the rain will continue, although reports from the Met office say that in the next 24 hours or so, it might decrease in strength. Our priority for now is to first of all save lives – which we have not lost any so far – and to unblock the roads and make it safe again for traffic.”

However, it was feared that the next upcoming high tide late yesterday afternoon to evening would only make the flooding more severe if it was combined with more rain.

As a precaution, all officers of the Fire and Rescue Services Agency, and the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces were told to report to their respective bases to standby in case of any emergencies and people who had relatives in elderly homes at Au Cap were told to come collect them for their safety’s sake.

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