A state of emergency has been declared in Seychelles, after an explosion occurred in the industrial zone of its main island Mahé.
The blast happened at a construction and quarrying company, where explosives were stored in four containers, at just after 2 a.m. local time on 7 November.
Exceptionally heavy rain on the same night has led to severe flooding and landslides.
Reports say three people have died, a number of people have been injured, and several people have also been evacuated from their homes.
Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan has ordered everyone except essential workers to stay at home. “Four containers of explosives blew off... My heart is heavy right now and I know many families are being affected. I was shocked to see Providence, Petit Paris and Cascade in such a state. It was as if we went through a war,” he said, according to the Seychelles Nation newspaper.
The international airport was also damaged, despite being four kilometres away, but it is still operational, according to the official X account of Seychelles.
The UK government has advised that its citizens in Mahé remain indoors until further notice.
Jonathan Frankham, General Manager, UK and Europe, World Nomads, said: “For Brits travelling to or within the Seychelles, we would like to advise staying informed about FCDO advisories, checking ferry and airline updates regularly, and being open to adjusting your plans as necessary. While the current FCDO advice remains cautious and travel generally continues as normal, it is recommended that Brits on the main island of Mahé stay in their accommodations until further guidance is released. Swimming is also discouraged due to the overflow of sewage and potentially hazardous materials.
“Likewise, with the heavy rains throughout the night, we urge travellers to plan ahead and avoid affected areas throughout the islands and seek guidance from local authorities and emergency services.
“For those concerned about their holiday plans, we want to provide reassurance that Seychelles International Airport and ferry services are operating as usual, allowing movement in and out of the holiday islands. However, exercising caution and making informed decisions, especially with restrictions in place in Mahé, is crucial.
“Given the current advisory status from the FCDO, insurance coverage remains unaffected. If your plans have been impacted, it is important to check your policy details for coverage… In any case, the first point of call should be your airline, travel provider or accommodation to see what support they may provide. Keep records of all purchases, and if you remain uncertain, do not hesitate to get in touch.”
This is an ongoing and developing situation. The information in this article is correct at time of writing.