Disaster brings out our best virtues and some lessons


02-February-2013

As in the past we came out from all corners to help those who were affected by the major storm that left so many of us out of their homes, and some without a home as landslides destroyed houses, trees fell on others and floods inundated even more.

When roads changed into rivers or were blocked by dislodged boulders, some of us did not make it home but good Samaritans along the south east coast roads or even as far as Victoria accommodated them especially when it became too dangerous even for public transport to operate.

As President James Michel said when he visited the affected areas several times during and after the disaster, we stuck together and the spirit of unit and caring for others came out strongly.

He, for one, stayed back and missed the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit where he was to be a key speaker.

Despite the topic being so close to his heart, he showed us we are even closer, for which we, especially those of us who were affected must thank him, and all the other leaders, governmental and non-state agencies who came out in force crossing administrative borders to lend a hand.

Although home is home and they miss it, even those housed in temporary shelters have said they are well looked after in comfortable accommodation that reminds us that at least we have suitable infrastructure as a foundation we can fall back to in such times, unlike many other developing countries where the poor state of evacuation sites sends tears down the cheeks of many around the world.

The Seychelles Police Academy is sheltering 28 persons from Anse aux Pins, different organisations are helping to look after 26 from Pointe Larue  and Au Cap at the Maison Football while the five persons from Pointe Larue are being looked by the National Sports Council and the Reef Apartments is housing four from Au Cap. The Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay resort is looking after nine from Au Cap and Pointe Larue. All those housed temporarily are getting basic and some will be re-allocated to Ile Perseverance.

Some of the vacated houses are being cleaned for evacuated families could go back home.

Our local and overseas friends have also proved friends in deed by extending their hands of support through pledges to the national disaster relief fund which can be reached through e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
A few lessons have emerged from the disaster, however:

It has been shown that by neglecting key planning guidelines, we are not only putting our property and lives in danger, but also those of our neighbours.

Poorly drained uphill premises where rain water gutters have not been installed have been blamed for landslides hitting houses lower down, especially where neighbours have been unkind enough to make temporary channels directing water to their downstream neighbours.

Planners have been given a wake-up call by the storm water which could no longer fit in the drains they erected, and contractors, owners and others who decide on site how high above the ground foundations should be have been sent back to the drawing board.

We have also learned the hard way that retaining walls are not meant only for beauty and cannot be ignored where recommended, neither can we ignore engineers’ advice on how we should erect them.

As Mr Michel said, climate change is here and we have seen with our own eyes what it can do.

May the pictures published here not only remind us of the calamity and how well we did when it hit, but also what we could have done to avert some of the avoidable effects, and the possible infections health experts are even now advising us to be wary of.

 

Print