Flood_Mauritius

Another effect of climate change?

It’s 9 pm and I just arrived home from the most exciting farm visit I had in a long time. And as I logged on to Facebook, I saw what has happened in Mauritius: another torrential rainfall and this time the capital city, Port-Louis is severely hit. Flooding, accidents, traffic jam, 6 people lost their lives in pedestrian tunnel at the Caudan waterfront, that was flooded within minutes, trapping them inside, and there have been other 2 victims in the flood.

Just as Mauritius was recovering from the recent torrential rainfall that affected the country in February 2013, another similar situation has reproduced this Saturday 30th March 2013. Only that this time, the impact has been more severe and reported as one of the worst flooding the country has ever experienced. At the time I am writing this post, it is still raining non-stop over the island and the population is still in a state of shock after the death of 8 people in this incident (more in this Video).

I am far from Mauritius right now, but I am saddened by this news and can feel the pain of the people in distress, the anguish of the victims’ families, the people whose house are flooded and had to move out with difficulty.
 
Mother nature is indeed unpredictable, and everyone has already started to blame each other for this tragedy. But, seriously, where is the problem? Who can intervene? And how can we better prepare ourselves next time?
 
Is there a problem with our infrastructure? Or is it with our meteorological services? Or even our  police force, emergency and rescue services? Being a Small Island Developing State, Mauritius is actually very vulnerable to the effect of climate change and with time, this will get even worse. We cannot really change what has already happened, but actions can certainly be taken to ensure that there are quicker and effective responses to these kind of crises when they arise.

We may have the impression that Mauritius has not taken any action to avoid such scenarios, but interestingly, Mauritius has had a particular interest in environmental issues dating back to  the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Mauritius was the first country in the world to ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in September 1992. There have also been several policies developed in relation to climate change adaptation and various studies have been conducted in this framework. This is highlighted further in the presentation below:

Having these policies and strategies are already an important step that the country has taken, but there are still more to be done. Only having an interest in the issue and conducting studies are not enough anymore. To support all these policy documents, there need to have a realistic action plan which is actually implemented through different project and programme under the respective ministries/authorities. 

We all want to act, and ensure that another 30th March 2013 does not happen again, and we are asking ourselves how? I personally see the solution in the way our policies are developed and implemented. There should be more synergy among the different ministries, service providers and other relevant stakeholders – in understanding the situation, knowing who should act, why, how and when. This can happen through peace and dialogue, blaming each other will not solve, but worsen the situation. We already have evidence on the effect on climate change and their impact. The challenge now is to be able to find means and ways to adapt and have warning systems to be able to respond to such crises. Let’s hope that the authorities concerned will assume their responsibilities and act accordingly.

My deepest sympathy to all the families who lost their dear ones in this tragedy. May their soul rest in peace..

About Nawsheen Hosenally

Nawsheen Hosenally, a national of the Republic of Mauritius, has over 6 years of experience in the agricultural sector, specifically focusing on the engagement of youth in agriculture through the use of ICTs. Currently, Nawsheen is the co-Founder of Agribusiness TV, a web TV that features success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs in Africa. Nawsheen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Extension from the University of Mauritius, and a Master’s degree in Management and Information Systems from the University of Manchester.

One thought on “Another effect of climate change?

  1. I love the phrase ‘dialogue and peace’. Mauritian politics have always been blaming each other. I hope this mindset changes very soon.

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