Apart from providing shelter to the people displaced, the ministry is also helping people with fixing up their homes. (Alisa Uzice, Seychelles News Agency)
Over 331 people were taken to shelters by local authorities following an explosion at the Providence Industrial Estate that damaged their homes on December 7, which does not include people who relocated to stay with friends and family, said a top Seychelles’ government official.
The principal secretary of Local Government and Community Affairs, Kevin Perine, told SNA on Tuesday that the ministry had also already set up an emergency operation centre at the Beau Vallon District Administrator’s office. This was done in the late hours of December 6 to respond to the various cases caused by heavy rainfall and landslides in the north of Mahe, the main island.
The team had to set up another operation centre at Cascade Primary School on the eastern side of Mahe after the explosion of four containers of explosives atbthe CCCL quarrying company in the Providence Industrial Estate caused massive damage to residential homes and commercial buildings.
“All our available district administrators were on the field. In the north of Mahe, we received calls from victims and attended to them through site visits and liaising with relevant agencies. At Cascade, the task was to ensure that the over 300 victims of the explosion were placed into shelters or at their families and friends,” said Perine.
He added that “The Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs and its partners also ensured that they received food, water and basic necessities. The ministry also coordinated with partners to ensure that victims of both disasters received psycho-social support from the NCC (National Council for Children), Quality of Life Division in Family Department, the Social Affairs Department and other organisations.”
Perine said that compiling data is also another task being undertaken by the ministry.
|Perine said that with the dual disasters, the staff of the ministry worked tirelessly with stretched manpower. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
“As for donations, we opened several donation centres across the three main islands (Mahe, Praslin and La Digue) with the main one being at the Roche Caiman community centre.”
Apart from providing shelter to the people displaced, the ministry is also helping people with fixing up their homes, together with Seychelles Infrastructure Agency, the Planning Authority, the Ministry of Land and Housing, and other key agencies.
Perine said that one of the main challenges was primarily in regards to the number of people they had to coordinate and assist.
“For over 300 individuals, each with their unique circumstances, needs and trauma. The nation faced an unparalleled challenge in simultaneously addressing two distinct crises – the CCCL explosion and the severe impact of heavy rainfall and flooding, resulting in tragic loss of lives,” said the principal secretary.
Perine added that there were other challenges they faced with the dual disasters as the staff of the ministry worked tirelessly with stretched manpower.
“Additionally, a deficiency in coordination with certain agencies emerged, underscoring the importance of addressing this issue in a post-mortem assessment,” he said.
To help assist the victims, a relief fund called the 7th December Disaster Fund, was launched by President Wavel Ramkalawan in which people in Seychelles or abroad can make monetary donations in Seychelles rupees, US dollars, British pounds and euros.