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University of Mauritius

Emergency Protocol for Natural Disasters


1. INTRODUCTION
A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulting from the natural process of the Earth;
examples include floods, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and other
geologic processes. The natural disasters can cause loss of life or property damage, and
typically leaves economic damage in its wake. The severity of which depends on the
affected populations resilience, or ability to recover.
Recently, Mauritius has been affected by torrential rain and flooding which have caused a
great disturbance in the populations ecological system. It is, therefore, important to have
in place a well- knit protocol to prevent bodily injuries or loss of life and damage to
properties.
Torrential rain, flood and cyclone have been occurring for many thousands of years, and
will continue to do so. Some natural disasters are predictable and can be prepared for, while
others come as a complete surprise, often causing bodily injuries or loss of life and damage
to properties.
In this context, staff, all students and stakeholders of the University of Mauritius (UoM)
should be prepared for any emergency scenario in case of flooding, cyclone and torrential
rain.
The present Protocol, primarily addresses UoMs preparedness to torrential rain, a flooding
situation and cyclone.

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2. PURPOSE
The Plan aims to:
(i) provide clear precautionary measures, guidelines and procedures to be adopted to
address the associated risks; and
(ii) minimize the loss of life and damage to property through an organized notification
and evacuation process.

3. UoM CONTIGENCY CELL


In order to efficiently address emergency situations, it is important to have a Contingency
Cell.
The Contingency Cell, with the following composition, shall address the emergency
situations resulting from Natural Disasters such as torrential rains, flooding, fire and
cyclone:

Chief of Facilities & Services

Representative of Services Section

Representative of CITS

Safety and Health Officers

Chief Security Officer

Nursing Officer First Aid Post

One Representative from each Staff Union and the Students` Union

Any other Co-opted Member, depending upon the nature of the emergency

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4. TORRENTIAL RAIN
The criteria for torrential rain vary from country to country. Torrential rain conditions are
said to exist when the prevailing weather in Mauritius produces 100 millimetres of
widespread rains in less than 12 hours and that this heavy rain is likely to continue for several
hours.
Torrential rain can cause flash floods or urban floods in any locality while the most likely
effect is water accumulations in flood prone areas. Heavy rain may also be responsible for the
overflow of rivulets and streams or even major rivers leading to riverine flooding. Such
floods usually occur downstream where it may not be necessarily raining heavily. Another
hazard in the aftermath of heavy rain is landslide which can occur on hill or mountain slopes
which are usually considered as high-risk areas.
Mauritius Meteorological Services provides flood warning of a general nature without being
site specific or quantifying water level in rivers.

4.1 Torrential Rain Warning Bulletin


As soon as the Meteorological Services has registered 100 mm of rain in a period of 12 hours
at several stations over the Island, it will advise the Ministry of Education and Human
Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research and the Police and it will issue
warnings at regular interval through the MBC and private radio stations.
Whenever torrential rain conditions exist, all schools, pre-primary, primary, secondary as
well as tertiary institutions will not be opened.

4.2 During Torrential Rain


4.2a

As soon as climatic conditions prevailing over Mauritius produce 100 mm of


widespread rains in less than 12 hours and that this heavy rain is likely to

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continue for several hours, the Mauritius Meteorological Services will issue
warnings at regular intervals through public and private radio stations and the
Police to keep the public informed of the situation.
4.2b

The Contingency Cell should meet and analyse the situation and report to the
Vice-Chancellor (VC) on the evolution of the situation and would make
appropriate recommendations for emergency decisions that may be required.

4.2c.i

For the purposes of deciding whether to open or close educational institutions in


cases of localized flooding, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources,
Tertiary Education and Scientific Research will issue internal instructions to
vest a discretion of the Head of Tertiary Institutions, which the latter will
judiciously exercise to interrupt classes for the day.

4.2c.ii

For the purposes of deciding whether to open or close the University in cases of
localized flooding, the VC is vested with the discretion which he/she will
judiciously exercise to interrupt classes for the day. He/she will exercise that
discretion in favour of caution rather than in favour of risk, subject to his/her
making a report forthwith to the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science,
Research and Technology.
The following critical safety aspects shall be considered:

The University Campus may be safer for the students instead of them
travelling home.

The contingency cell shall regularly seek information on the state of


rivers, canals, etc. which are in the vicinity of the UoM Campus as well
as other areas which are likely to be flooded.

The University shall release students unless and until it has ensured that
appropriate transport or safe conduct home is available.

Where transport or safe conduct home is not possible, the students


should be ensured a place of temporary shelter. This place of temporary
shelter should be equipped with communication facilities at which
responsible parties may contact or reach their wards.

4.2d

The VC should inform the Ministry of Education and Human Resources,


Tertiary Education and Scientific Research that the University is closed.

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4.3 Post Torrential Rain
4.3a

The Services Superintendent/ Estate Engineer shall mobilise the Services


Section to inspect and address all hazards including accumulation of water.
Moreover the Services Section shall ensure that electricity and water supply are
properly restored to enable the resumption of activities. The Services
Superintendent/ Estate Engineer shall submit a report on same to the CFS for
submission to the VC.

4.3b

The Director of CITS shall make an assessment of the state of the IT network
and infrastructure and submit a report on same to the CFS for submission to the
VC.

4.3c

The VC will send a written report to the Ministry of Education and Human
Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, informing the latter on
whether or not the University can resume its activities.

4.3d

The CFS with the Services Section will proceed with repair/ remedial measure,
if any, of the UoM building, premises or equipment.

4.3e

A fumigation exercise shall be conducted to prevent the proliferation of


mosquitoes.

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Emergency Protocol for Natural Disasters
5. FLOODING
5.1

Causes of Flooding

There are numerous reasons which can cause flooding, but particularly at UOM, it can be due
to:

5.2

Torrential rain for a long period of time.

Water accumulation areas.

Poor maintenance of drainage system.

Water leakage on roof of buildings or damage window panes.

Risk Assessment

A Risk Assessment Exercise has been undertaken throughout the UoM Campus and it was
observed the at the following places across UoM are more likely to accumulate water during
torrential rain which can provoke overflowing of rain water:

5.3

Parking areas

Rear sides of Main Canteen

Basement of buildings

At the back of the Raised Plaza

In front of Faculty of Agriculture

Precautionary Measures
5.3a Drainage Systems and Catch Pits
Drainage Systems and Catch Pits to be regularly maintained and kept free of
obstructions at all times to facilitate a good flow of water. This also implies a good
drainage system on the roof of UoM buildings.

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5.3b Housekeeping
There should be a proper housekeeping around the UoM Campus at all times,
especially the accumulation of obsolete items should be avoided.
5.3c Equipment to be available during Flood Emergency:

Hand Torch

Sand Bags

Yellow Tape

Life Saving Jacket

Ropes

Communication Equipment

Siren/Alarm

First Aid Kit

5.3d Door Shutters


All door shutters to be maintained regularly, and opened and closed on a daily basis.
In case of a Flash Flood, the door shutters should remain open.

5.4

Emergency Evacuation plan

5.4a The Contingency Cell would regularly report to the Vice-Chancellor on the evolution
of the situation and would make appropriate recommendations for emergency
decisions that may be required.
5.4b As soon as a warning of heavy rains (i.e. not to wait for Torrential Rains Warning) is
issued by the Meteorological Services, the Contingency Cell shall meet and start its
monitoring.
5.4c Security Officers posted at or in the vicinity of places where there is a risk of water
accumulation, as mentioned above, shall keep a close watch on these areas.
5.4d The protocol set by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Centre for
Torrential Rains will be followed.
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5.4e As per communiqu if other regions are safe to travel, all staff and students should be
allowed to leave the University Campus without delay and in a disciplined manner.
5.4f

If evacuation is ordered, follow these procedures:

Stay calm, do not rush, and do not panic.

Safely stop your work.

Gather your personal belongings if it is safe to do so.

If safe, close your office door and window, but do not lock them.

Use the nearest safe stairs and proceed to the nearest exit. Do not use the
elevator.

5.4g Furthermore, if the situation is beyond control, external help should be sought from
the Emergency Services like Mauritius Fire and Rescue Services, Police and Health
Institutions in collaboration with the First Aid Centre of UoM.
5.4h As soon as a risk of flooding is assessed by the Contingency Cell, the following
measures shall be initiated:
Services Section:

Contact the Government Fire Rescue Services and other Emergency Services
and report any key message giving exact details.

Ensure power supply is cut off at affected areas;

Ensure all supplies of gas and main power supply are cut off.

Call maintenance team to assist in preventing so far as reasonably practicable


water from entering building premises. (Block entrance by sand bags)

Assist Emergency Services Personnel on their arrival.

Place warning sign where and when required.

Remove any obstacle that may cause overflowing of water.

Provide drains where necessary.

Replace forth while all broken or detective glass panels, windows, doors,
shutters, etc.

Switch off Main Electrical Panels and shall ensure that all lines are
disconnected from the main panel.

Switch off all stands by generators.

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All Foremen from Services Section:

Sound the alarm, by activating the manual call point.

Report to the Services Superintendent on the severity of the situation.

Execute the instructions from the Services Superintendent.

Shut down all electrical machineries and equipment.

Close all access routes to adjacent buildings to prevent water from flowing in.

By Chief Security Officer


At all times, the team of Security Officers should be in contact with Services Section
and ensure the following precautions:

Ensure that all occupants in the parking area are evacuated and directed to the
nearest escape routes/secure location;

Assist any disable person who may be present in the parking area; and

Monitor access to the affected site and authorize people to leave secured
locations only when safe to do so.

Close access to compound which have been affected by flood.

Ensure that looting is prevented in any damaged building.

Move UOM Personnel and students to a higher floor level of the building.

Head of Department
Head of department with the help of subordinates should ensure the following
precautions:

Close all doors, windows, shutters and other openings properly to prevent
inflow of wind and water.

Switch off all electrical appliances, light and mains.

Remove all equipment in the vicinity of window glass panes to safer places.

Remove any equipment below any roof leakage and to relocate in the safe
area.

Identify any possible place of water ingress and take appropriate steps to
prevent such inflow.

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People with disabilities should be given assistance.

Relocate any material, equipment or chemicals which are likely to be damaged


by water.

Beware of slippery floors and electrical leakage.

Move students or personnel to a higher floor level of buildings.

Laboratory Coordinator

Ensure all supplies of gas are cut off.

Coordinate with Principal Technicians to ensure that all Laboratory staff and
students are evacuated to a safe place.

Ensure that all electrical supplies to Laboratories are switched off.

By First Aid Post

5.4i

To be ready for first line treatment for any casualty.

In case students and staff cannot travel to their place of residence because of roads
are over-flooded, provision should be made in terms of foods and a safe lodging
room.

5.4j

As soon as the emergency is over, the Contigency Cell shall submit a post-event
report to the Vice-Chancellor, highlighting any case of injury/casualty, damage to
infrastructure & re-instatement measures and any recommendation for enhanced
response to future emergencies.

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6.

CYCLONE

6.1

Cyclone Arrangements

The formulation of the cyclone policy is to ensure that internal arrangements are being
followed by the contingency cell in order to protect the human lives as well as all the physical
structural aspects of the University Building and the allied complexes.
Official cyclone season in Mauritius covers period 1st November to 15th May in a year. At
the approach of the cyclonic season, the Heads of Sections/Units (i.e. Registrar, Deans of
Faculties, Finance Director, the Chief Librarian, Other Directors, Sports Orginiser, Farm
Manager and Supervisor of UoM Press) shall report to the Services Superintendent all
imperfections of the building which they occupy for appropriate repairs and /or maintenance.
As soon as a cyclone approaches the vicinity of Mauritius and the outer islands and gusts are
expected to exceed 120 km/h, the warning system is put into effect by the Meteorological
Services. It consists essentially of a numbered series of Cyclone Bulletins and of a summary
statement of the class of warning designed to keep the public informed of the progress of the
cyclone.
When a meteorological station records 120 km/h it is not unlikely that, in some localities,
gusts may be reaching 130 to 140 km/h. The threshold of 120 km/h, represents the speed at
which appreciable damages may start to occur, and exposed or weak trees or larger branches
and structures may start to blow down.
The following terminology has been adopted in the South West Indian Ocean Region for
classifying cyclonic disturbances and will be used in Cyclone Bulletins:-

Terminology

Gusts (instantaneous) (km/h)

Tropical Storm

Under 89

ii

Moderate Tropical Storm

89 to 124

iii

Severe Tropical Storm

125 to 165

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iv

Tropical Cyclone

166 to 233

Intense Tropical Cyclone

234 to 299

vi

Very Intense Tropical Cyclone

300 and above

The Class System of Warnings should be based primarily on the extent of the risk and
secondly on the time factor. The coded Class System by itself can, in no way, indicate the
intensity or size of the cyclone nor the extent to which gusts will exceed 120 km/h.
Classes of Cyclone Warnings

CLASS I

CLASS II

CLASS III

CLASS IV

TERMINATION

6.2

is issued 36-48 hours before Mauritius or Rodrigues is likely to be


affected by gusts reaching 120 km/h.
is issued to allow, as far as practicable 12 hours of daylight before
the occurrence of gusts of 120 km/h.
is issued to allow, as far as practicable, 6 hours of daylight before the
advent of 120 km/h gusts.
is issued when gusts of 120 km/h have been recorded in some places
and are expected to continue.
there is no longer any risk of gusts exceeding 120 km/h.

Preparedness and Precautions in the event of a Cyclone

Cyclone damage can be minimized if care is taken to ensure that buildings and installations
are in a good state of maintenance. The Chief of Facilities and Services is responsible for
ensuring that satisfactory state of general maintenance is attained before the cyclone season
and that the fittings of doors, windows and shutters are secured.
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The cyclone policy comprises four sections, namely:
a)

General Preparedness

b)

The approach of a cyclone

c)

During the cyclone

d)

The aftermath

6.2a
6.2a.i

General Preparedness
Offices

All electrical appliances/equipment such as computers, lights, fans, printers,


scanners, air conditioners, amongst others, are switched off;

All electrical sockets/extensions are switched off;

Windows and doors are properly locked and secured;

Equipment (e.g. computers, printers, etc.) along with important documents and
other valuable items are moved away from windows and kept safely to mitigate
any damaging effect resulting from possible cyclonic conditions/torrential rains;

Ensure that all bins are emptied;

Identify any possible source of water ingress and take appropriate steps to
address potential water infiltration; and

6.2a.ii

Beware of slippery floors and electrical leakage.

Laboratories and Specialised Facilities

All electrical appliances/equipment such as laboratory equipment and apparatus,


computers, lighting, fans, printers, scanners, air conditioners, amongst others,
are switched off;

All electrical sockets/extensions are switched off;

Windows and doors are properly locked and secured;

Ensure that all bins are emptied;

Identify any possible source of water ingress and take appropriate steps to
address potential water infiltration;

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Equipment, apparatus, chemicals and other valuable items are moved away from
windows and kept safely to mitigate any damaging effect resulting from possible
cyclonic conditions/torrential rains;

In particular, special care shall be taken to keep safely chemicals that are likely
to react with water;

6.2a.iii

Water taps and gas supplies are properly closed; and

Beware of slippery floors and electrical leakage.

Other Areas Inside Buildings


Supervising Officers (SEA/PEA/AO, as may be the case) shall give the necessary
instructions to Office Attendants or other relevant staff for:

Closing of all water taps in toilets and mess rooms;

Switching off of lights, fans and other appliances in areas not covered under
section 6.2a.i and 6.2a.ii above such as corridors, toilets, etc.; and

Ensuring that no electronic equipment is left on the floor, as far as practically


possible, in order to avoid any damage due to water accumulation.

6.2a.iv

Services Section

Close all tap-water, gas etc.

Inspect and clean drain pipes and roof.

Branches to be pruned out well in advance.

Warning sign to be placed where and when required.

No loose objects are lying on roofs.

Remove any potential flying objects likely to fly by the wind.

Provide drains where necessary.

Replace forth while all broken or detective glass panels, windows, doors,
shutters, etc.

All precautionary measures have been taken prior to the closing of University
buildings etc.

As soon as Class II warning has been issued, arrangements should be made for
the watchmen to report on duty

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6.2a.v

6.2b

Security Officers

Close access to compound.

Ensure that looting is prevented in any damaged building.

The Approach of a Cyclone

At the approach of cyclone season the Heads of Sections/Units (i.e. Registrar, Deans of
Faculties, Finance Director, the Chief Librarian, Other Directors, Sports Orginiser, Farm
Manager and Supervisor of UoM Press) should report to the Services Superintendent all
imperfections in the building which they occupy that could be affected by a cyclone and
that require repairs and or maintenance.

The Services Section should ensure that:


1.

the required repairs and or maintenance are affected and that a satisfactory state
of maintenance is kept at all times and especially at the approach of the cyclone
season.

2.

the building is in good condition and can withstand cyclone gusts.

3.

tree branches likely to cause damage to the building, telephone and electricity

lines are trimmed.


4.

the UoM property is clear of loose material that can cause injury and damage

during extreme winds.


5.

no loose objects are lying on roofs.

6.

all broken or detective glass panels, windows, doors, etc. are repaired or replaced

in advance.

6.2c

During the Cyclone

1. On Cyclone Warning Class 1:

Chief of Facilties and Services, Heads of Sections/Units (i.e. Registrar, Deans of


Faculties, Finance Director, the Chief Librarian, Other Directors, Sports Orginiser, Farm

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Manager and Supervisor of UoM Press) should ensure that all necessary precautions are
being taken for security of buildings and/or occupants, as applicable.

The Services Section shall;

1. ensure that all necessary precautions and preliminary actions have been undertaken by the
assigned team for building security and its occupants.
2. ensure that all the company vehicles are fuels filled.
3. liaise with the Farm Manager to prone all elongated tree branches

The Contigency Cell shall;


1. seek a meteorological chart and follow the cyclone trajectory.
2. keep the Committee members informed of the cyclone developments.

2. On Cyclone warning Class II

As soon as Class II warning becomes in force, lectures shall stop and students should be requested
to leave the University premises without delay.

If a Class II warning is in force at the beginning of any day, the University will not be opened for
the students.

As soon as the students have been asked to leave the University premises, the Chief of Facilties

and Services, Heads of Sections/Units (i.e. Registrar, Deans of Faculties, Finance


Director, the Chief Librarian, Other Directors, Sports Orginiser, Farm Manager and
Supervisor of UoM Press) shall ensure that all necessary measures as outlined in appendix 1 are
promptly completed.

Computers, movable equipment, apparatus, stationery, etc. should as far as possible be placed in a
safe place to mitigate any damaging effect should the building itself be affected by the cyclone.
In the same spirit every member of the staff should see to it that any Universitys property which
is under his/her responsibility is placed in a safe place.

Supervising Officers (SEA/PEA/AO, as may be the case) and the Services Section shall
ensure that all doors, windows and shutters have been properly secured and all precautionary
measures have been completed before a Class III warning becomes in force.

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3. On Cyclone warning Class III

At the level of each Faculty/Centre/Unit/Section;


1. ensure that all lines are disconnected from the mains.
2. close all openings before leaving the workplace.

All members of the staff should be released immediately as a Class III warning is in force
during working hours.

The Services Superintendent shall ensure that;


1. all stands by generators are switched off.
2. the perspex University plans are removed and kept safely.

3. University vehicles are securely parked.


4. all stand-by employees are in possession of an emergency torch each.

In case a Class III warning is in force at the beginning of a work day, the University shall
remain closed for the staff as well as during, such time as the warning is in force.

Staff who are required and bound to attend duty during a cyclone warning Class III or IV
shall continue to do so.

6.2d

The Aftermath
After the lifting of a cyclone warning Class III or IV, and depending upon the time at which
the official communiqu is issued by the Meteorological Services, staff shall attend duty as
soon as the cyclone warning Class III or IV is officially lifted, provided this is done before
10:00 hours, and on the assumption that public transport has resumed.

After a cyclone, the Chief of Facilities and Services shall set up a task force as soon as
possible after the termination of the cyclonic conditions.

Heads of Sections/Units (i.e. Registrar, Deans of Faculties, Finance Director, the


Chief Librarian, Other Directors, Sports Orginiser, Farm Manager and Supervisor of
UoM Press) shall immediately make an assessment of the situation at their respective
Department/Section/Centre/Unit and submit a report to the Vice-Chancellor.

The Report should indicate the extent of damage, if any, of buildings and material, including
furniture, equipment, apparatus, stationery, etc. and an estimate of cost. In assessing any
damage to the buildings the advice of the Services Section could be sought. Nil return also
should be submitted.

An emergency relief operation will be directed to correct minor repairs.

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Appendix 1
Cyclone Precautionary Measures
1.

Close all doors, windows and other openings to prevent inflow of wind and water.

2.

Switch off all electrical equipments, lights, mains, etc.

3.

Close all taps (water, gas, etc.).

4.

Dispose all waste bins.

5.

Remove all equipment near glass pane windows and place in a safe location.

6.

Watch out any sign of roof leakage and remove any equipment or valuable beneath and place in a
safe location.

7.

Prevent flooding, identify possible sources of water inlet and take appropriate measures.

8.

Watch out cables (electric and telephone) hanging loosely and which might break.

9.

Pruning out of tree branches which might be a source of danger to glass panes.

10.

Remove any possible or potentially hazardous flying objects likely to fly or fall by wind which
might cause damage and injury (example flower pots, etc.).

11.

Park all vehicles safely.

12.

Clean and maintain in good conditions all roofs, drain pipes, etc.

13.

Replace immediately all broken and near broken glass panes, windows, doors, etc.

14.

Remove materials, equipment, chemicals likely to be damaged by water.

15.

Beware if any, chemical likely to react dangerously with water, i.e. fire or explosion, etc.

16.

After the cyclone, beware when entering any wet part of the building, possibility of highly
slippery floor or electrical leakage therefore shock and electrocution seek assistance of
competent persons.

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EMERGENCY NUMBERS
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS (INTERNAL)
Direct Line

Extension

UoM HOTLINE

403 7900

7900

Services Section

403 7509 / 7599

7509/7599

First Aid Post

403 7699

7699

UoM Security Services

403 7999

7999

Safety and Health Officer

403 7586

7586

EMERGENCY EXTERNAL NUMBERS


Government Fire Rescue Services

115

Mauritius Police Force Emergency

999

Mauritius Police Force Information Room

208 0034 / 0035

Ambulance

114

Central Electricity Board

6011100

Meteorological Station

6861031/6861032

Special Mobile Force (SMF)

6011300

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