News on Sunday

Torrential Rains incite chaos all over the island


From Wednesday night to Thursday morning, the whole island was under the influence of active clouds, which caused torrential rains with thunderstorms. Beneficial for our reservoirs, the torrential rains, however, caused much havoc around the island.


The same scenario, or almost as harsh, took place yesterday. On early Thursday morning, the Mauritius Meteorological Services announced that a Torrential Rain warning was in force in the island. Mauritius was submerged in water due to active clouds, associated with the convergence line that caused the torrential rains with thunderstorms during Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

Water accumulation in houses and shops, roads turning into rivers, flooded plantations, power cut, houses collapsing, no school, the torrential rains once again turned the island into a war zone. Following the warning, the Ministry of Education announced that nurseries, pre-primary, primary, secondary, tertiary institutions including the technical centres of the MITD will remain closed on Thursday.

In addition, the Heavy Rainfall Protocol for the Public Sector came into effect. Indeed employees of public and para-statal sectors were asked not to go to work until further notice from the Meteorological Services. Nayen Kumar Ballah, head of the public service, announced that employees would have to head to work later if the torrential rain warning is removed.

On the other side, after consulting with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee, Business Mauritius invited its members and other private sector companies to take necessary decisions according to the situation in their respective regions. “We do not have any motto or instructions in such conditions for the private sector. It's up to every employer to take a decision,” said Pradeep Dursun, Chief Operating Officer of Business Mauritius on Radio Plus.

The decision of the Mauritius Meteorological Services to issue the warning was also due to the fact that more than 100mm of rain was recorded in various regions across the island. Indeed from 7pm Wednesday to 7am Thursday, Plaisance recorded 103,6mm, Champ de Mars 112mm, Albion 120,6mm, Beau Bassin 123,4mm and Quatres Bornes 106,4mm of rain.

Mauritians, however, remained helpless in front of the chaos that ensued because of the torrential rain across the island. At La Louise, Quatres Bornes, residents as well as shopkeepers were awaken by floods. An inhabitant of the region stated that many shops were flooded due to rising waters. Meanwhile, Dorsamy Ayacooty, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, confided that houses in Chebel, Barkly, Roches-Noires, Albion, Rivière du Rempart, among others, were flooded.

The fire fighters had to intervene in many regions like Baie du Tombeau, Tranquebar, Rivière du Rempart, Quatres Bornes, among others. The football field at Baie du Tombeau turned into a pond. In fact from 5pm Wednesday to 5am Thursday morning, the fire fighters had done nearly 80 interventions due to water accumulation. Tractors also had to be on site to evacuate the water into the sea.

Many roads were unusable and traffic flow was greatly affected as well, announced Sgt Barlen Munisami from the Traffic Branch. Anse-Jonchée road in the South and Berthaud Avenue in Quatre Bornes had to be closed to the traffic. The road to Petite Rivière was also unusable, namely at Gros-Cailloux and Cité Richelieu as well as roads at Yemen, Pierrefonds, Chamarel and others. The main road to Baie du Tombeau was also closed down.

The authorities advised the public to be very cautious and to go out only if necessary. The situation took such an appalling turn that some inhabitants had to seek refuge in the Community Shelters.  A bridge in Pailles even collapsed due to the heavy showers. People in regions like Vallée Pitot, considered at risk of landslide, even had to be evacuated. The Special Mobile Force and the Special Support Unit also had to intervene to evacuate the water and clear the roads.

“Officers were hard at work in a number of places, including Camp Manna. The officers of the National Coast Guard made patrols in areas at risk, namely Canal Dayot, Sable-Noire and Quatre-Soeurs. The members of the Police Information Operations and those of the Traffic Branch worked together on the deviation of the roads,” stated Pravind Rughoo, Communications Manager of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center.

The Mauritius Meteorological Services removed the Torrential Rain Warning at 10:15am Thursday. Weather forecaster Rakesh Seetohul pointed out that the intensity of the rain had decreased considerably. “There is no longer a risk of heavy rains. However, it is advisable for the public to be careful on the road and not to venture into places where there are accumulations of water,” he said on Radio Plus.

Public and parastatal officers had to report to work by latest 12:30pm. According to the Minister of Public Services Eddy Boissezon, attendance rate on Thursday was of 90% despite the previous weather situation. “Out of 40,000 employees, more than 38,000 were present at their posts. The main concern of the rest of them was the distance they had to travel to their place of work,” explained Eddy Boissezon on Radio Plus.

House crumbles at Tranquebar

A couple’s house in Camp Mana, Tranquebar yielded due to the torrential rains on Thursday. The house, which is found near a river, had crumbled due to a landslide before being covered by debris dragged by the water. Sarooj, aged 74, and her daughter Sangeeta had to be evacuated by the fire fighters and the Supporting Unit.

Sangeeta confided that her family and herself had lived a “night of terror.” The two women were in shock and have lost all of their belongings. They were however sheltered by neighbours. “We have lost everything. I have never experienced such fear in my life before,” uttered Sangeeta.

Her mother explained that she has lived in that house for 40 years. However, Sangeeta said that she was always worried when there were heavy rains, in case floods affect them. The deputy of the constituency Roubina Jaddoo-Jaunbocus met with the family following the catastrophe. She assured them that they will get the necessary support.

Driving tests postponed

Driving tests were postponed and Traffic Branch officers assured that new dates have been already set. Those who had to take their driving tests at the Line Barracks, Port Louis, on Thursday will have to take their tests on Friday, February 16th, which is a holiday. For those who had to pass their exams at Curepipe, the tests were sent back to February 3rd.

200 houses without electricity

The technicians of the Central Electricity Board (CEB) had much to do. In fact on Wednesday night, some 2,000 homes were without electricity. Officers of the CEB explained that several transformers were hit by lightning, as a result of violent thunderstorms in the North, on the Central Plateau and in the South. The technicians of the CEB re-established power in most houses but 200 houses were still without electricity on Thursday morning. The officers assured that the situation would get back to normal within hours.

 Sok Appadu : “Definitely, the weather phenomenon will be more dangerous in future”

The former Director of the Mauritius Meteorological Services explains that the torrential rains were due to the current season. “Summer is the period where we get the most of rain. The torrential rains happened due to one main reason. We’ve had two cyclones that passed by our island. The first one is cyclone Ava that brought a hot air mass from the Equator in the Mascarene region. This is why we got an unstable and hot air mass coming from the north. It is this air mass that transforms into big clouds with heavy rains. In addition, we also got cyclone Berguitta which passed near us. While passing by, Berguitta also brought another hot air mass from the Equator. This phenomenon is known as ‘cumulo numbus’. This was added with the sea breeze and therefore caused lots of humidity in the atmosphere. This is what provoked the torrential rains,” explains Sok Appadu.

But what explains these now common and dangerous weather conditions? Sok Appadu explains that the climate change has a lot to do with this. “Definitely, climate change is the culprit. We are thus bearing the consequences. It’s been practically raining every day since the beginning of the year.” He explains that torrential downpour is indeed one of the many consequences of climate change.

“For example, we now experience heavy rain during a short period of time. This affects our soil that can no longer absorb the water thus causing problems such as floods. This in addition causes environmental issues.”

Sok Appadu adds that change in infrastructures is also causing considerable trouble when torrential rains hit us. “There were not so many houses, buildings, roads, among others, before. So all these also contribute to the chaos that we experience around the island following torrential rains.”

He reveals that we must expect such heavy downpours in the future and perhaps more intense ones. “Definitely, the weather phenomenon will be more dangerous in the future. We will get more rain in less amount of time. We can even have 200ml in a few hours in the future. And we will not be able to control these types of phenomenon,” he utters.

Sok Appadu trusts that there is the need for sustainable solutions in the future. “Policy makers have to tackle the problem as a whole. They have to put aside their selfishness and political attachments. They will have to work hand in hand with our citizens and stakeholders so that everybody can feel safe in the country.”

Consequences of the torrential rain - Mowla Bucus : “The consequences are due to carelessness by people and by authorities”

The Hydrologist explains that torrential rains do not cause much soil erosion. “The erosion is more or less normal... However as we have more concrete surfaces now, we have more impermeable surfaces. We thus note that rivers are over flooded as well as these concrete surfaces. These rivers can cause various accidents such as drowning due to imprudence,” explains Mowla Bucus. He adds that long ago our rivers had larger vats (cuve) but they have shrunk now due to climate change.

Mowla Bucus denounces that the problem of water accumulation across the island is due to carless house constructions. “People have built houses which are not at the same level as the road. They do not cater to building their houses and making their yards at the same ground level as the road. This is why water accumulates easily.

Or they have simply inherited a house and have never bothered to make changes. In addition, the Road Development Authrotiy (RDA) has, for years, just added up the layers of tar on the roads, thus levelling them up. I thus believe that authorities are also responsible in these cases.”

He further explains that some people have constructed their houses on drains or on marshy sites that do not allow water to flow. “Problems following torrential rains are also due to the fact that people are not conscious about their environment. They dump everywhere. In addition to that, there are no regular maintenance on the part of the concerned authorities,” he argues.

Mowla Bucus trusts that each citizen in the country should take his/her responsibilities in front of such harsh weather phenomenon. “The consequences are not due to the rain. It is caused by people, by their carelessness and that of the authorities.”


Notre service WhatsApp. Vous êtes témoins d`un événement d`actualité ou d`une scène insolite? Envoyez-nous vos photos ou vidéos sur le 5 259 82 00 !