(Seychelles News Agency) – People who have been affected by the major explosion at Seychelles’ Providence Industrial Area said they are grateful for the assistance they are getting but are also frustrated and exhausted.
A massive explosion took place in the early morning of Thursday in an explosives storage facility of the Civil Construction Company Limited (CCCL) causing enormous damage to businesses in the area as well as residential houses. Around 178 people were injured, of which six had to be admitted to the Seychelles Hospital.
Friday morning, a day after the explosion, the District Administration Office at Cascade was distributing plywood and black plastic sheets to residents whose houses, especially their doors and windows, had been damaged.
The district administrator, Begita Melanie, said that the plywood had been donated by the Seychelles Trading Company (STC).
“Most of the houses have been affected, and we cannot meet the demand but we are trying to at least give each household two sheets of plywood. We are trying to help as many people as we can,” she told SNA.
People were coming one after the other to collect the plywood being given and most of them told SNA they were grateful for the help, however, some were frustrated with the limit of two sheets of plywood per household.
“At first it was difficult for people to understand, it is normal for people to be frustrated, everyone has been affected in different ways, and some have lost a lot. But most people are cooperating with us,” Melanie added.
Jenita Isaac, a resident of Cascade, said that her house has sustained a lot of damage.
“I no longer have any windows and my roof is severely damaged. I need help fixing my roof. This is a major concern for me. Now I’m collecting the plywood, last night I got some tarp and plastic sheets. Apart from that I also have furniture that was damaged from the blast. I don’t even know if my house is structurally sound anymore,” she told SNA
|People were coming one after the other to collect the plywood being given. (Alisa Uzice, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
“I’ve been a resident here for over 30 years. I have already paid off my house loan. After all these years, at this age I cannot take another loan, those who are responsible need to step up and compensate us,” she added.
Isaac said she is disappointed with the response from the authorities.
“I am very frustrated. The authorities have not come to my area yet to assess the situation. Even if it’s just to listen to us, we are also human, they should put themselves in our shoes,” she said.
Nelson Larue showed SNA his injuries and explained how his house was also badly damaged and that “the whole house no longer has any windows or doors, it all went with the blast. The ceiling is also in a bad state.”
Larue was among those collecting the two sheets of plywood from the District Administration office. He also expressed his disappointment with the fact that the authorities had yet to visit his area.
“We need assistance, but so far no one has come. We are depending on ourselves to fix our house,” he added.
Responding to the comments about the level of engagement from the authorities, district administrator Begita Melanie said that it is the Seychelles Planning Authority who will be conducting visits.
She, however confirmed, that as of yet everyone is still very busy attending to those who need immediate assistance and that any visit will be done in the next coming days.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs has announced that the Roche Caiman Community Centre has been designated as the official drop-off point for any donations. The focal person can be contacted on the telephone number 2622025.
Furthermore, a total of 202 people had to be provided with alternative shelter as their homes at Cascade were severely damaged. Several local businesses, hotels, and individuals offered them temporary shelter.
Aside from the massive explosion at CCCL on Thursday, there was also major destruction in the north of Mahe due to heavy rainfall with flash floods and landslides happening in several districts with the worst of it in the district of Bel Ombre.
The district administrator for Bel Ombre, Tahiri Laurencine, said that all relevant authorities as well as several groups of volunteers have been mobilised to ensure that everyone needing help receives assistance.
Laurencine said that a lot of companies, individuals, and organisations have donated food and clothes.
“We are giving out donations to the people who need it the most at the moment, be it clothes or food. The Red Cross is also assessing people’s situations to provide them with what they need,” she said
Laurencine added that the residents who were affected are now cleaning up their homes and that they will still need assistance and additional donations in the near future.
In solidarity, many businesses and volunteers have also stepped up to help either in terms of manpower, food and even providing accommodation for people who have been displaced.
Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan announced on Thursday the opening of a relief fund called the 7th December Disaster Fund, in which people in Seychelles or abroad can make monetary donations in Seychelles rupees, US dollars, British pounds and euros.