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Rains And Landslides Worsen Seychelles Crisis

Fri, 31 Dec 2004

Torrential Rains And Landslides Worsen Seychelles Crisis

Mahe, Seychelles. Torrential rains and landslides have worsened the crisis in the small island Republic of the Seychelles.

The death toll for the islands has risen to 8 people but the real impact is a thousand times higher. "Nearly 8000 people, or 1/10th of the entire population, has been displaced from their homes." says Olsen Vidot, Principle Secretary for the Local Government - responsible for co-ordinating the national disaster relief campaign, "Houses have been washed away, sewerage lines have been ripped up, fuel lines are out and major roads have been totally destroyed".

With a population of only 80,000 people and no commercial flights operating to the country, aid seems very far away.

"We have loads of first aid kits, rescue and sanitary supplies which we have been trying to send but there is simply no freight running to the country." says Tim Gordon, the co-ordinator for the New Zealand aid fund operating for the Seychelles Government. "They have been more-or less ignored because of the size of their country."

Roads have been closed across the island Mahe, the largest island of the group, as tarmac was swept away and boulders, mud and trees washed over the islands.

Emergency services are at breaking point with dwindling supplies and little rest since Sunday's (December 26) Tsunami hit.

Shops remain closed throughout the capital as people were stranded in their homes and water surged through the streets after drains blocked by flooding were unable to discharge the rainwater.

At Pascal Village the home of Chantal and Darryl Woodrow was partly damaged by a landslide that blocked access to and from Beau Vallon. Half of the house was demolished when several tonnes of rock and earth broke free from the hillside, at a time when the family were fortunately out of the house.

As small streams were transformed into rushing torrents, the sea in the bay was turned brown by the mud washed down from the hills.

The clean up work after the Boxing Day tsunami and the bill for dealing with the two catastrophes will be extreme and with almost no international relief forthcoming the small island nations is having to fend for itself.

New Zealanders can donate to the relief fund for the people of the Seychelles by visiting www.seychelles.org.nz or www.ozone.net.nz . Anyone with concerns for friends or relatives in the country can contact the Seychelles Ministry of Local Government on +248 225 477.

THE SEYCHELLES Seychelles is an archipelago which lies in the western part of the Indian Ocean - 1593 km East of Kenya, 2813 km South West of India and 925 km North East of Madagascar. It consists of 115 islands, of which 76 are coralline and the remaining are granitic.

The estimated population is 80,000 people.

The coralline islands are low averaging 1.5 meters above sea level and seldom exceed 9 to 15 meters in height Supplies of fresh water are scarce and settlements are small with rarely more than a hundred people. Many of these islands serve as rookeries for large bird population.

The Tidal Wave of the 26th December 2004 was the first ever in known history to hit the islands.

DONATIONS TO THE SEYCHELLES Orcon Internet and Ozone Barter have jointly formed the Indian Ocean Aid Fund to assist the people of the Seychelles.

We are urgently calling for donations for the people of the Islands. Donations and more information can be made by visiting www.seychelles.org.nz (which has further instructions on credit card donations, fax, phone and internet banking donations).

Money donated goes directly to the local government disaster relief fund in the Seychelles where it is managed by the Seychelles Ministry of Local Government, Sports and Culture. The Ministry is responsible for co-ordinating all 25 Emergency District Brigades throughout the country and assessing the needs of the local people throughout the islands.

ABOUT ORCON INTERNET Founded in 1995, Orcon Internet has grown to become New Zealands forth largest supplier of internet services. In 2004 it won the Netguide "Best ISP of the Year" award. Seeby Woodhouse, Managing Director of the privately held company, is the current holder of the Adilam Young, Young Achievers Award.

More information can be found at www.orcon.net.nz

ABOUT OZONE BARTER LIMITED Ozone Barter Limited is the second largest barter exchange in New Zealand. The company assists businesses move surplus products or services which are on-sold for 'trade credits'. These trade credits can then be used by Ozone members to buy goods and services they need - thus helping to reduce their cash costs and increasing their overall sales turn-over.

More information can be found at www.ozone.net.nz

ENDS

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