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Presidential Live Press Conference |15 December 2023

Presidential Live Press Conference

President Ramkalawan speaking during the press conference

Estimated cost of last week’s

disasters could top R200m 


By Patrick Joubert


All families whose homes were affected in last week’s flooding and explosion will receive R25,000 as a one-off payment to attend to their immediate needs and fix their homes.

Meanwhile it has been estimated that the cost of damages caused by the two disasters could amount between R150 million and R200 million.

President Wavel Ramkalawan made these announcements during a live press conference at State House yesterday evening, which was also attended by the cabinet of ministers.

The head of state also announced that businesses operating in Providence that were affected by the blast, and whose taxes were due by December 21, will get a three-month grace period, as of the set date. Businesses renting premises with the Industrial Estates Authority will also be given a three-month grace period for rent.

In a half-hour statement at the beginning of the press conference, the head of state outlined what has been done to date to attend to those affected in the two calamities, including donations from both local and international donors, as well as the statistics of the homes and businesses touched in the two incidents.

In relation to the Cascade explosion, an estimated 1400 residents were affected. Four hundred and thirty (430) households were visited and 43 were considered to be heavily damaged, whereas 118 were less severely damaged. Two hundred and sixty-nine (269) had minor damages, said the president. Twenty-one (21) have been repaired and the owners have returned to their homes.

He has commended the contractors who are offering their services for free to attend to the homes.

“The government is fully engaged in repairing the homes affected,” said the head of state, adding they will attend to both non-insured and insured households. A total of 180 households were insured while 211 people were not. 

A sum of R1 million is the ceiling being set by government for reconstruction of homes.

President Ramkalawan said the Property Management Corporation (PMC) is responsible to repair the houses it manages and so far has completed repairs on 75 of them. With regard to the two blocks of flat at Ex-PMU Petit Paris, President Ramkalawan announced they would be pulled down and reconstructed.

In the meantime, the tenants will be temporarily moved to other newly built housing estates in the country, namely in Perseverance and La Poudrière.

With regard to the northern part of Mahé, President Ramkalawan said a total of 89 houses affected were visited. Among them four were damaged severely and will have to be pulled down, while the rest can be repaired.

Around 54 people were affected during the rain disaster.Two sites in Le Niole have been declared a danger area, including the area where the house of one of the victims, Dorothy Lafortune, was completely bulldozed by the landslide.

“Experts will be conducting assessments on them to see what kind of other dangers they pose,” said the president.

A rock armouring has been built along a river bank in Mount Simpson, Bel Ombre where a house and road were also washed away by a river that burst its bank. Sandbags have been placed at many houses, to prevent water from flooding the homes in the event of another heavy rainfall.

Some roads have also been repaired in Mount Simpson and work are under way to widen the river mouths of two rivers to prevent flooding.

Due to the two disasters, 350 people were initially placed in shelters and at present, 275 remain in those shelters. Others have returned to their homes or gone to stay with family members.

In relation to the Providence Industrial Estate, 226 visits to businesses were done within two days where 27 buildings were initially labelled as unsafe. Further assessment indicated that only 14 among them were declared as unsafe, said the president. Some owners have been informed to either pull their building down partially or entirely.

President Ramkalawan said 83 businesses applied for re-occupancy certificates and following 78 visits by competent authorities, 60 businesses have been granted permission to operate their businesses.

Talks are also under way with banks for low interest on loans to businesses to allow them to construct and restart, he said.

With regard to the December 7 disaster relief fund, the president stated that the balance is SCR6,191,000; US $16,994;  €1,208 and £100.

There are also contributions from friendly countries. Mauritius has contributed US $50,000 and Rwanda has offered US $300,000.

Officials from the United Arab Emirates are in the country to assess damages prior to making their contributions, said the president.

He noted political parties have also made contributions namely the United Seychelles (US) which has contributed R200,000 and the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) which has contributed R600,000. Cabinet of Ministers has contributed R300,000. He also mentioned there was an undisclosed amount from the Civil Construction Company Limited (CCCL).

With regard to the investigation, the head of state said the police were receiving the help of the British government to determine the cause of the explosion and an expert was already in the country. Experts from the World Bank were also assisting the local authorities.

The head of state could not provide information to the media as to the type of insurance owned by the company at the centre of the blast.

He noted an investigation was still under way and government would not make any comments at present on the matter until a report is submitted to his office.

President Ramkalawan also said that a request for an independent enquiry was premature.


Photos by Joena Meme

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