Mauritius announced on Thursday that it had started distributing food supplies to over 400 fishers whose livelihoods were hit when a Japanese ship ran aground on July 25, causing an oil spill.

In a statement, the East African island nation announced that food supplies were distributed “among 400 fishermen from the regions of Riviere des Creoles and Deux Freres, who have been affected by the ecological crisis which resulted from the grounding of the MV Wakashio.”

The food distribution drive organized by the National Insurance company and the State Insurance Company of Mauritius happened at the Bambous Virieux Social Multi-Purpose Complex and the Grand Sable Social Welfare Centre.

Finance Minister Mahen Kumar Seeruttun promised the affected communities in the Indian Ocean island nation that the government had rolled out various financial support measures to take care of the affected communities.

Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping Sudheer Maudhoo for his part said that registered fishers, “whose activities have been affected by the oil spill in the southeast lagoons, will be entitled to a solidarity grant of Rs 10,200 (roughly $257) as from August 2020.”

Including the bad weather allowance for fishers in Mauritius, the affected will receive an additional Rs 7,650 ($192) totaling Rs 17,850 (roughly $449).

He noted that those from the area who had also applied for fishers registration cards will also benefit from Rs 10,200.

This comes as local media reported that at least a dozen dolphins had washed up on the Mauritius coast close to where over 1,000 tons of oil spilled from the grounded ship MV Wakashio. The reports noted that stranded and seriously ill dolphins could be seen near the area.

Since the spill of some 800 tons of oil began, locals came out in large numbers to help in the cleaning process. They shared photos on social media of oil-covered birds, sea turtles, and ornate day geckos, many of them dead.

Environmentalists warn it will take a long time for Mauritius’ ecosystem to recover from the problems caused by the oil spill, underlining that the damage the spill did to the marine ecosystem around Blue Bay Marine Park and the Mahebourg coral lagoon will last for generations.

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