Mauritius: A Refuge Centre was inaugurated this afternoon, at Quatre Soeurs, by the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, with the objective to protect and safely evacuate local communities living along the south-eastern coastal stretch of Mauritius who are at risk in events of inundation from high tides, storm surges and tidal waves.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles, Ms Lisa Simrique Singh, the Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Kavydass Ramano, the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, the Minister of Public Service, Administrative and Institutional Reforms, Mr Teeruthraj Hurdoyal, the Chief Government Whip, Ms Naveena Ramyad, the Member of Parliament, Mr Sanjit Kumar Nuckcheddy, and other personalities were also present.
Prior to the event, the Prime Minister proceeded with the inauguration of the Coastal Rehabilitation Site at Pointe aux Feuilles and effected a site visit at Deux Frères in view of the forthcoming Deux Frères Waterfront Project.
In his address, Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that the Refuge Centre is a first-of-its-kind in the Indian Ocean and will serve as an emergency escape haven from flooding, coastal inundation, storm surges and other natural calamities such as cyclones.
He highlighted that the construction of the Refuge Centre is in line with Government Programme 2020-2024 to introduce new eco-friendly measures such as building norms and improve public infrastructure for better protection against natural disasters such as cyclones and floods. The Refuge Centre, he pointed out, marks a significant milestone in the modernisation of the country’s infrastructure.
The Prime Minister observed that the world is facing harmful impacts of climate change, adding that Mauritius, as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), is particularly more vulnerable and at risk. He mentioned that sea levels are increasing faster than expected across the world. “It is high time to protect the environment, increase resilience and join hands together to mitigate the effects of climate change”, he said.
He rejoiced that Mauritius is the first SIDS to own such a dedicated Refuge Centre, which can accommodate a maximum of 1000 persons. He stated that the construction of this building had been undertaken to demonstrate the best adaptation practice in respect of mitigating measures in the face of the effects of climate change. The building, he added, will also be used by authorities to train the staff and professionals to manage and deal with emergency situations.
Prime Minister Jugnauth expressed gratitude for the financial support to the tune of around Rs 44 million from the Adaptation Fund and the support of the United Nations Development Programme for the project. “Government will continue to invest massively for construction of drains, rehabilitation of coastal zones, waste management amongst others to ensure the safety of citizens, but it is the responsibility of each and everyone to collaborate and stop polluting the environment”, he concluded.
For his part, Minister Ramano highlighted Government’s determination to fight against climate change, mitigate its impacts and reduce risks for the population. As regards the project, he pointed out that it also benefitted financial support from the Government to the tune of Rs 9.9 million for the acquisition of the plot of land from Ferney Ltd.
This initiative, he stated, shows the commitment and seriousness of the Government in protecting the lives of its fellow citizens. He informed, that the Ministry is doing a lot in terms of better preparedness to protect coastal sites and resolve the problem of erosion.
As for Ms Singh, she dwelt on the Adaptation Fund established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on climate change to help developing countries build resilience and adapt to climate change.
She pointed out that the Refuge Centre will be very beneficial to the inhabitants as Quatre Soeurs and nearby regions are highly susceptible to flooding. She commended Mauritius for all its efforts and progress in trying to increase resilience and achieve its climate objectives for the well-being of the population.