A workshop on Development of Landslide Hazard Map and Landslide Management Plan, aiming to assess the current situation and chart the way forward, opened yesterday, at the Municipal City Council of Port Louis in presence of the Minister of National Infrastructure and Community Development, Mr Mahendranuth Sharma Hurreeram.
The Senior Chief Executive of the Ministry of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management, Dr Dhanandjay Kawol, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Infrastructure and Community Development, Mr Geeanesswar Bundhooa, the Geotechnical Advisor of the Ministry, Mr Kensuke Ichikawa, and other personalities were also present.
Minister Hurreeram, underlined the impact of climate change globally while highlighting that Mauritius is at risk of severe climatic conditions including floods, landslides, slope failures, torrential rains, and intense cyclones.
He recalled that in 1986, Mauritius experienced a large-scale landslide at La Butte, thereafter, at Chitrakoot in 2005, followed by a second episode in 2006. Landslides were also recorded at Vallée Pitot, and Quatre-Soeurs, he indicated.
The Minister stated that Government has taken bold decisions to mitigate and address the impacts of climate change. One such decision is the setting up of the Land Drainage Authority, he pointed out. Government has also sought support from the Government of Japan, under a Technical Cooperation Agreement, for a Landslide Management project, he underlined.
Emphasis, he remarked, is now being laid on the need to adopt a holistic approach, based on the country’s topography to determine action plans. He added that the Digital Elevated Model, (DEM) has enabled the country to have a better comprehension of the landscape and identify corrective measures to address problems relating to flood.
He further observed that the Geotechnical Unit has identified landslide prone areas in Mauritius and developed the Landslide Hazard Map for Mauritius which shows 62 priority risky landslide sites across the island.
The parent Ministry, he underpinned, in collaboration with the authorities will evaluate the degree of seriousness of each site to tackle each situation as well as determine the best strategies to mitigate and address effects of landslides in Mauritius.
As for Mr Bundhooa, he elaborated on the necessity for the authorities to be well prepared in advance in case of any adversity. The workshop will help to develop a landslide management plan, review progress achieved and plan the way forward, he pointed out. He underscored that the situation is changing in the face of climate change adding that Mauritius is more exposed to climatic risks. The Plan will describe the status of the sites and provide appropriate actions to be taken to better respond to a crisis, he stated.