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Updated January 16th, 2024 at 22:18 IST

Mauritius Lifts Storm Alert, Nationwide Curfew After Tropical Cyclone Belal Passes

Country’s meteorological services stepped down after mounting criticism that they failed to issue the adequate warning.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Tropical cyclone Belal
Tropical cyclone Belal caused heavy flooding in Mauritius. | Image:AP
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Mauritius on Tuesday lifted the highest weather alert and eased a nationwide curfew after tropical cyclone Belal wreaked havoc in the Indian Ocean and caused extensive damage in the capital city, and other parts. The nearby French island of Reunion is assessing the widespread damages caused by the storm. The cyclone ripped through the east coast of Africa on Monday. But the cyclone has now passed out to the Indian Ocean, and there was no imminent danger, the Mauritius Meteorological Services said in a statement.

Controversy reeled inside the island nation of Mauritius about the prediction of the intensive damage that Belal was going to cause to the property and the people. Country’s meteorological services stepped down after mounting criticism that they failed to issue the adequate warning about how severe the impact of Belal was going to be on the nation.

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Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, members of Cabinet visit impated towns

Footages published by Mauritius' L’Express newspaper showed panicked people waving from the top of their car roof. There were upturned cars and other vehicles and the impacted motorists were pulled out by others. Several budding and homes witnessed flooding from the storm and residents were evacuated to safety. At least one death was reported in the island of French Reunion.

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Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and other members of his Cabinet visited the towns battered by the cyclone after the government was criticised for not giving an adequate warning about the damages. The river raged on the roads of the Mauritius capital, Port Louis, coupled with heavy and torrential rain that was brought by Belal. The storm left “a trail of damage over the country,” said the Mauritius premier. 

As schools remained shut, the government's National Emergency Operations Command said that it mobilised the police forces for the search and rescue operation. The country also lifted the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to minimise the loss of the civilian lives. Only emergency workers, some hospital workers and security forces were allowed to move. In the neighbouring French Reunion, 40% of the total 860,000 people were left without electricity, internet or cell phone service.

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Published January 16th, 2024 at 22:18 IST

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