The effects of climate change are being felt more and more. The weather patterns, having been modified, have put us all at risks of more intense storms. The ice in the polar caps have been melting at an unprecedented rate, and research has it that the thawing of ice may cause underwater avalanches which could thereafter trigger tsunamis.
Given the size and location of Mauritius, the island is positioned to be extremely vulnerable to tsunamis and storms caused by tsunamis. The lives of the people residing in the coastal regions would be most at risk. Not to forget that 85% of the hotels are located in those areas; the economy of the country would be directly affected adversely. Hence, a warning system will be installed as a precautionary measure.
A fund has been set up to help countries facing such risks financially. The Adaptation Fund (AF) has entitled Mauritius to be a beneficiary of the grants available for countries needing to implement projects to protect themselves from natural disasters of this scale. The grant amounts to $ 9 119 240 for Mauritius. An ‘early warning system’ will be developed and implemented according to the project of the AF. In case of floods, storms and other natural disasters, the Early Warning System has as aim to warn the people likely to be affected. Some countries already have developed such a project, namley Bangladesh, France and China.
The Central Statistic Office has reported that around 226 000 people live in the coastal regions of Mauritius. A considerable chunk of the Mauritian population are directly vulnerable to the negative impacts likely to be caused by natural disasters at sea, thus showing further the pressing need to set up a warning system that functions so as to allow the people concerned enough time to preserve their assets, including their lives in extreme situations.
A project of this magnitude needs tremendous financial input. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is ready to invest around Rs 10 millions to make of this project a reality. By next July, the warning system should be in place, if all goes according to the plans. Meanwhile, experts in the field are being consulted so as to improve the existing plan.