30th March 2013 Tragedy: Meteorological Services Blamed in Court

The meteorological services of the island have been blamed by the court for the disaster of the 30th of March 2013 when many of us met with death as a consequence of the flood that hit Mauritius.
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The 30th of March 2013 will remain etched in our memory: the day when many precious lives were lost as a consequence of the uncontrollable floods. In the aftermath of the tragedy, an investigation was launched to find out whose fault was it. On the 31st of December 2014, the magistrate Ida Dookhy-Rambarun concluded that the meteorological services are to be blamed. A 16-page report was published, denouncing the local meteorological services.

A special bulletin was only issued after many areas of the island were already inundated. Magistrate Ida Dookhy-Rambarun deplored this delay, arguing that many steps could have been taken in advance to prevent the mishaps. For instance, the Police Information and Operation Room was only informed at 14h30 on that day that torrential rain was to be expected all across the island, when, by that time, many regions were already bearing the brunt of the weather. Ida Dookhy-Rambarun stated that were the police to be informed at 13h25, the public would have been alerted of the weather conditions, and officers would have been deployed to the regions most affected.

It was also argued that the meteorological did have the means to avert the calamities. While the local services did not have the adequate radar for detection, they could have had access to that of Reunion Island. The latter could have provided invaluable information had they been requested for it. Furthermore, studies have shown that the bitter consequences of floods might be reduced if the necessary measures are taken prior to the natural disasters hitting the country.

It was also added that it is high time to invest in the development of technology and social infrastructure to better handle this type of situation.

Yet another topic that was addressed in court was that of drainage systems. For example, several structures have been erected in water streams at Ruisseau-du-Pouce, ultimately rendering the flow of water difficult. Furthermore, the pipes of the Central Water Authority, Wastewater Management Authority as well as those of Mauritius Telecom have disrupted the water flow. As a result, the maintenance of many drainage systems, specially those in Port-Louis, have to be reviewed.

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