PORT LOUIS, Mauritius - Ten people were killed in floods caused by sudden rains in Port Louis, the capital of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, the police information centre said Sunday.
Police said six bodies were found in a pedestrian subway. One body was found near the port and two more in an underground carpark, while one victim reportedly died of a heart attack as the flood waters rose.
“152 millimetres (six inches) of rain were recorded in the country in less than an hour and a half” on Saturday afternoon, a statement from the island's meteorological services said Sunday.
Average rainfall for the entire month of March, the wettest month of the year, in Port Louis is around 220 millimetres.
“We had forecast bad weather and rain, but not on that scale and not in such a short period of time,” said Balraj Dumputh, the head of the meteorological service.
People have been advised to stay at home Sunday as further torrential rain is expected.
There has so far not been any official government reaction. Patrick Assirvaden, head of the ruling labour party, said: “It's unprecedented.” He put the torrential rain down to “climate change” and said: “We have to adapt to this situation and to the damage caused by nature.”
The head of the opposition Alan Ganoo for his part said the government had not been up to dealing with the situation.
Mauritius, with its palm-fringed white sand beaches, is best known as a top-end holiday and honeymoon destination. - Sapa-AFP