Tropical rainstorm lashes La Digue


(Posted 25th January 2014)

The Seychelles’ third largest island, La Digue, was yesterday at the centre of an epic rainstorm, which brought down 220 millimetres of rain in the space of just 7 hours in the deep of the night, lashing the island like hardly any other storm in living memory.

This downpour of biblical proportions led to significant flooding across the island, prompting the Seychellois emergency services to be alerted and brought in to lend a first hand in mitigating the flood damage and helping people and business owners to save their property.

An immediate high level meeting was arranged including the Minister for Home Affairs Joel Morgan, the Minister for Environment Rolph Payet, the Minister for Social Affairs and Community Development Vincent Meriton and other ranking officers from the police, the armed forces and other departments dealing with such natural disasters.

According to a source in Victoria on the main island of Mahe, the schools on La Digue were closed until further notice as main inhabited parts of the island were over a foot under water. The La Digue police station was, going by the information received, surrounded by more than a foot of water too, as were the main roads from the port flooded as water ran off from the inner island’s hills and mountains, trying to drain towards the ocean.

There are according to the source several landslides the emergency teams are dealing with, though no loss of life or serious injuries were reported at this time. Residents as well as the tourists presently booked in the two main resorts and the various guest houses and smaller hotels were urged to stay indoors and not use tap water but only consume bottled water until the water supply has been checked out and declared safe.

The natural disaster struck only a week after a delegation from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Seychelles Tourism Board visited stakeholders on La Digue to discuss the future of tourism on the island, giving the private sector an opportunity to once again raise any and all issues of concern to them, as individuals as well as for the sector overall.

La Digue, repeatedly visited in the past when on the islands on assignment, is one of this correspondent’s favourite locations in the Seychelles. I wish the residents of La Digue, especially those I met in person during past visits, a strong heart and courage in dealing with this sudden natural disaster and with the often seen special Seychellois spirit they will no doubt overcome this situation and return to normality in no time.

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