(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan has urged patience from those affected by the two disasters that hit the island nation on December 7, 2023, during a live televised press conference on Tuesday.
He addressed issues such as why many people are still awaiting assistance from the government as they wait to repair their damaged properties.
The archipelago in the western Indian Ocean suffered two major disasters on the same day on December 7. After several days of torrential rains, the northern region of the main island of Mahe suffered rock and landslides, along with flooding due to heavy rain in which three people died.
In a separate incident, in the east region of Mahe, in the Providence Industrial Estate, a massive explosion that originated from explosives stored at a local quarrying company, CCCL, which flattened large buildings, businesses, and residential houses in the vicinity.
One of the main questions being asked by the public, especially with regards to the explosion at CCCL, is who will be held accountable.
Investigations are ongoing in the matter and President Ramkalawan said that the investigations are going well at the moment, with numerous experts providing their knowledge in the matter.
He said that he hopes that by the end of February, more information will be available to the public on the matter.
“As we speak there five damaged hard drives with video surveillance footage of the incident, which has been sent overseas with a police officer, where we hope we will see exactly what happened at the moment of the explosion,” added the President.
Responding to a question from SNA during the press conference as to why no one from CCCL has been arrested yet, the President explained that at the moment, there are no reasons to arrest anyone in regard to the incident.
“There must be a reason for someone to be detained,” he said, adding that the police are continuing with their investigation, with the site of the blast still an active crime scene.
Reparations work and government assistance
Ramkalawan also gave details on the work being done in the aftermath of the explosion and the flooding.
“I want to tell the people of Seychelles, especially the victims, that the explosion at CCCL happened in seconds, and the disasters in the north happened in a few hours. But I want to say the reparations will not happen in seconds or hours, but will take some time,” said the President.
The government has allocated SCR25,000 ($1,800) for each of the households affected by the disasters and the President urged patience, citing that they have received a total of 791 applications for that financial assistance, which amounts to a total of SCR19.775 million ($1.39 million) and that it will all be paid by the end of this week.
Furthermore, Ramkalawan explained that the Department of Local Government has, during the past month, been working on 42 projects, which included tree cutting, rock drilling, clearing of roads, rivers and others, which meant that they spent a total of SCR 604,528 ($42,863). These works were conducted generally in the north of Mahe and have all been completed.
He did, however, state that some projects have not started yet in some parts of north Mahe, explaining that they need to let the soil dry out before these works can be done.
Also, the Land Waste Management Agency (LWMA) has collected a total of 342 tonnes of debris from these two disasters.
Following the disasters, which affected many families, many people had to be temporarily moved from their homes, where they were placed in areas such as the national stadium, the Maison Football, among others, and 116 people are still in these temporary accommodations.
Ramkalawan also expressed his gratitude to every department, agency and volunteers who were present in the aftermath of the disasters and thanked them for their courage and compassion on behalf of the nation.