Mauritius

February 14, 2013

Rain Drain: Rs 300 Million

Heavy downpour on Wednesday morning brought the island to a standstill costing the economy about Rs 300 million. With most public and private sector institutions choosing to close, economic activities ground to a halt. The Bank of Mauritius declared the day a bank holiday.

Vice prime minister and minister of Finance Xavier Luc Duval, told The Independent this forced holiday will clearly prove costly to the economy.

 “The factories will be able to make up for the lost time but small businesses such as shops will face huge dents in their profits,” he said.

Economist and Cabinet PluriConseil director, Eric Ng, estimates Mauritius lost at least Rs 300 million, which is one third of its approximate Rs 1.1 billion daily turnover; calculated from a Gross Domestic Product of Rs 350 billion accumulated over around 320 working days in a year.

Contrary to the Finance minister, Ng was optimistic as to the nation’s capacity to recuperate from this calamity. “There was some economic activity in the morning and we can easily catch up on this by working a little harder,” he explained in a conversation with The Independent.

The Stock Exchange of Mauritius closed at noon with a total 905,307 volume traded for a value of Rs 23.8 million compared to Rs 68.9 million traded on Tuesday.

After remaining under the torrential raining warning for 10 hours, the Meteorological Services removed the warning at 4 pm, however adding that thundery showers will persist.

Many public officials who were already on the way to work had to return home after an urgent communiqué, released by the Mauritius Employers Federation, recommended closure of businesses. The same condition applied to private institutions.

However, some officials who had already left home before the notice was released were faced with transport problems as bus companies pulled their vehicles off roads.

Firefighters received more than 1,000 calls and conducted over 300 operations throughout the island in Souillac, Vallée des Pretres, Montagne Ory, Flacq among others. SAMU received 700 calls but no major incidents were reported.

Following many cases of flooding, six shelters were opened, at Roches Bois community centre, Cité Vallijee social centre, St Croix social centre, Baie du Tombeau Social Centre, Gris-Gris social centre and Camp-Fouquereaux social centre. No major damages have been caused to electric wires, according to CEB chairman Balraj Narroo.

The National Meteorological Station had issued a torrential rain warning at 6 am prompting the closure of all pre-primary, primary schools and tertiary institutions due to many roads being flooded. However, a few parents have expressed their dissatisfaction over the delay in the issue of the communiqué. They argue that the warning was put out too late as some students had already left home for school and were left stranded in bad weather when they learnt they had to return home.

A Flacq resident explained, “My daughter who attends the Queen Elizabeth College has to be up early at 5 am and she takes the bus before 6 am. I was already on my way to work when I heard there was a torrential rain warning.”

 “Was the government waiting for someone to get hurt to issue the warning,” he questioned.

 

Text by the Independent
 

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