Dozens injured in giant explosion in Seychelles

Henry

A total of 66 people were injured on Thursday and numerous buildings collapsed after a huge explosion at an explosives depot in Seychelles. The incident forced the president of the country to declare a state of emergency for the day.

The island group – known for its idyllic white beaches and luxury tourism – is also struggling to keep its head above water with floods that have already claimed the lives of two people, Pres. Wavel Ramkalawan said.

The explosion took place in the Providence industrial area in Mahe – the largest island in the Indian Ocean – and caused extensive damage to the site and surrounding areas.

“It was heard several kilometers away and the force of the explosion shattered windows of nearby houses, banks and shops.”

In TV footage, broken glass and metal sheets in pieces can be seen scattered on the site.

“A total of 66 people were admitted to the hospital,” said Ramkalawan.

All schools and shops were closed on Thursday to allow emergency workers to carry out essential work. Only workers in essential services, and those traveling, were allowed free movement.

Ramkalawan announced later the same day that the state of emergency had been lifted.

“Stores can reopen and normal movement of the public can resume, with the exception of the Providence industrial area,” the president told reporters.

“Many people are in shock and we are trying to offer them psychological support,” said Ramkalawan. He says the explosion could have been much more serious if it had occurred during working hours.

“Seychelles learned a lesson today and we have to do something to change the situation,” he said and pledged to reconsider the storage standards for explosives in the country.

The police launched an investigation into the causes of the explosion.