Saturday, 5 January 2013

Mind the gap

This photo taken on Réunion after cyclone Dumile was published by many news sources around the world (The Telegraph, NBC News, The Guardian, Huffington Post, etc.). The caption says "A man walks on a remaining piece of road crossing the river that links Saint Louis de la Reunion with Saint Pierre on the French island of La Reunion, following the passing of cyclone Dumile. Winds of up to 180 km per hour and torrential rain caused extensive damage to the island's west coast".

Photograph: Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images

The road pictured is actually a radier - a temporary road that was built to cross the St Etienne river while the main road bridge (which was destroyed during Cyclone Gamede in 2007; see below) is being rebuilt. Dumile downed trees and power lines, leaving approximately 125,000 people temporarily without electricity. Downed wires led to the death of one person after he tried to remove a live wire from the roof of his home; 14 people were also injured. Heavy rains also affected much of the island, with 834 mm (32.8 in) falling on one weather station over a 24 hour span. These rains proved to be mostly beneficial, restoring reservoirs and replenishing rivers, as the island experienced below-average rainfall in the preceding two months. Significant agricultural damage took place on the island, with losses reaching €31 million; insured losses were estimated at €3.5 million (US$4.7 million).

Original St Etienne river road bridge after cyclone Gamede (source)

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