State of emergency declared after explosion and floods

Residents of the archipelago are invited to stay at home. The Seychelles archipelago declared a state of emergency on Thursday after an explosion in an explosives warehouse and flooding. “All schools will be closed. Only workers employed in essential sectors will be allowed to travel, to allow emergency services to do their crucial work,” Wavel Ramkalawan, the president of the Indian Ocean archipelago, said in a statement.

The explosion took place in the Providence industrial zone on Mahé and caused enormous damage on site and in the surrounding area, the presidency added without further details. Mahé is the largest island in the archipelago, where 87% of the population of 98,000 lives.

No level disruptions at the airport and ferries

“The Seychelles international airport continues to operate, as do passenger ferries between the islands,” said the official tourism site Visit Seychelles on caused major damage Wednesday evening in several areas of Mahé. Photos posted on its official Facebook account show collapsed houses, landslides and significant cracks on the island’s roads.

Known for its heavenly white sand beaches and luxury tourism, the Seychelles archipelago, a former British colony, is made up of 115 islands. It is the richest African country in terms of gross domestic product per capita, according to the World Bank, driven by tourism and fishing. But this index masks great inequalities: due to the cost of living, nearly 40% of the population lives in poverty.

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