Male | President Abdulla Yameen today appealed for calm amid simmering discontent over an acute water crisis in the Maldives as an Indian naval vessel carrying a large consignment of water and RO facility reached the island nation as part of India’s aid effort.
The Maldives is facing a national crisis after a fire in its capital’s lone water treatment plant and much of Male is still without drinking water. President Yameen appealed to the Maldivian public to remain patient and united, while working with the Government to resolve the national crisis, brought on by the fire that broke out at the Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC).
Yameen reassured the Maldivian people that a steady and adequate supply of bottled water would be made available until the crisis is resolved. India yesterday sent nearly 200 tonnes of water by air and dispatched a naval vessel.
The Indian government has till now pressed into service as many as five Indian Air Force transport aircraft and two Naval vessels for the aid effort. INS Sukanya, an offshore patrol vessel, was on a routine patrol off Kochi when it was diverted to Male. The vessel reached Male last night. INS Sukanya is carrying 35 tonnes of fresh water and has two Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants on board which have a capacity of producing 20 tonnes of fresh water per day. A large tanker vessel INS Deepak will reach Male tomorrow with more supplies.
The enormous effort by India was undertaken after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was called up by her Maldivian counterpart on Thursday night. Continued support. Indian assistance to Maldives continues for 2nd day. Foreign Ministers remain in touch, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted today.
Yameen said he is grateful to India and Sri Lanka for promptly responding to his appeals for assistance. He also thanked the US and China for assuring their support to the Maldives during the crisis. Street scuffles broke out yesterday in Male at many places where authorities were distributing bottled water, media reports said.
The government said today that it would distribute water free of charge to some 120,000 residents, including expatriate workers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Male, located on a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean, has no natural water source and entirely depends on treated sea water.
A major fire broke out at MWSC generator control panel on December 4, causing extensive damage to the cabling of the generator to the Distillation plants, disconnecting water supply.