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Deadly flash floods ravage Mauritius

Deadly flash floods ravage Mauritius
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A day of mourning has been declared in Mauritius after at least 11 people lost their lives in savage flash floods that caught the Indian ocean island by surprise on Saturday.

Most of the dead were caught in an underground car park in the capital Port Louis, and police and rescuers are still looking for survivors two days after 152 millimetres of rain fell in less than two hours.

The prime minister has blamed the disaster on the effects of global warming and climate change, but local media are questioning why the national Disaster Management Committee, which was warned of the downpour on Saturday morning, did not meet until the afternoon.

Roads were swept away and mudslides ripped through built-up areas, making hundreds of people homeless. Busy thoroughfares became raging torrents, and homes that were not destroyed were ruined with mud and sewage. Pedestrian underpasses became death traps.

In places only three minutes made the difference between safety and deadly danger. Rescuers are still looking for one man reported missing, and the casualty figures could still rise.