Mauritius faces a dire situation as Cyclone Belal triggers torrential downpours, resulting in severe flash flooding in the capital, Port Louis. The cyclone, having already impacted Réunion, left at least one person dead and numerous homes without electricity.
The torrential rains unleashed chaos in Port Louis on Monday, washing cars down streets and forcing people to escape from their submerged vehicles. The Mauritius weather service escalated the alarm from class two to class three as the island nation braced for the cyclone’s closest pass early on Tuesday.
Cyclone Belal made landfall on Réunion with winds gusting up to 250 kilometers per hour, leaving many homes without power, tens of thousands without water, and disrupting telephone and internet connections. Authorities issued the highest alert, advising people to stay indoors during the storm.
As the eyewall of Cyclone Belal veered northwards, away from the center of the island, the violet alert level was lifted on Monday. This allowed emergency services to intervene and assess the damage caused by the cyclone, whose impact, fortunately, proved less “cataclysmic” than anticipated, according to the local prefecture.
Despite the reduced severity, one death was confirmed, emphasizing the importance of adhering to safety measures. The local prefecture reported the death of a homeless person who had not sought shelter in Saint-Gilles (west) and had refused emergency accommodation. The cause of death remains unknown as authorities continue their investigations.
Mauritius remains on high alert as it navigates the aftermath of Cyclone Belal, with emergency services actively involved in damage assessment and recovery efforts.