The president of Seychelles declared a state of emergency on Thursday after a huge blast at an explosives depot and flooding in other parts of the country's main island. Three people have died in the flooding, local media reported.
The explosion overnight in the industrial area of Providence, southeast of the capital, Victoria, caused “massage damage” to it and surrounding areas, President Wavel Ramkalawan's office said in a statement, which ordered the state of emergency. It ordered people to stay at home to give emergency services space to work.
“Everyone is being asked to stay at home,” the statement said. “All schools will be closed. Only workers in the essential services and persons traveling will be allowed free movement.”
“This is to allow the emergency services to carry out essential work.”
The flooding has caused “major destruction," the statement said.
Ramkalawan told reporters later Thursday that three people had died in the heavy rain and flooding, which was mostly affecting the northern part of the main island of Mahe, according to reports in the Seychelles Nation newspaper.
He said more than 100 people received injuries, mostly minor, in the blast at Providence and had gone to hospitals or clinics, according to the newspaper.
Many buildings in the vicinity of the explosion were badly damaged and some were flattened completely by the blast. Providence is 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Victoria. Emergency services were at work in the area of the explosion, the president said.
“The damages are huge and many families have moved out of their homes for security reasons,” the Seychelles Nation newspaper quoted Ramkalawan as saying.
Authorities said the island's international airport and ferry services were still operating to allow people to travel if they had to.
Seychelles is a collection of islands off the east coast of Africa with a population of just over 100,000, with most people living on Mahe.
Much of the East African region has been hit by heavy rainfall and deadly flooding. Hundreds have died across the region and millions have been displaced since the rains began in late October.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan have all experienced raging floods that have been made worse by the El Niño phenomenon. More than 130 people have died in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.