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State of emergency in Seychelles as massive explosion causes chaos

By Jessie Gretener and Nimi Princewill, CNN

(CNN) — Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan issued a state of emergency Thursday after a blast at an explosives store injured scores of people and brought the country to a standstill.

It is unclear if there were any casualties following the explosion.

Schools are closed and only essential workers are permitted free movement after the explosion caused “massive damage” in the Providence industrial area and surrounding areas, according to a statement from the president’s office.

The country has also recently experienced heavy rains and flooding that has caused “major destruction,” the statement said.

“Following an explosion at the CCCL explosives store that has caused massive damage to the Providence Industrial area and the surrounding areas and major destruction caused by flooding due to heavy rains, the President has declared a State of Emergency for today the 7th December,” the statement outlined.

According to local media, at least 100 people were injured in the blast and another two were killed by floods.

The Providence Industrial area is located in Mahé, the largest of 115 islands in the Seychelles archipelago.

Officials in Providence said the rubble-strewn area was akin to a “war zone” as nearly every building in the area sustained significant damage, according to local reports.

Ramkalawan’s office asked the public to cooperate with the police and stay home.

Seychelles, a former British colony, is situated in the Indian Ocean, off the East African sub-region. It is also the least populated African nation with just over 100,000 people.

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