Indian aircraft arrives to ease Malé water crisis

Additional reporting by Mariyath Mohamed, Ismail Humaam Hamid, and Ahmed Naish

An Indian aircraft has landed  in the Maldives capital Malé to alleviate in the continuing water crisis, as the government reveals it could take between three and five days to restore the capital’s water supply.

The first flight landed at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport at 1:15pm, with two additional flights expected to bring a total of 100 tonnes of fresh water for the people 130,000 inhabitants of  the Maldives’ capital.

Minister of Defence Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim has announced that damage to the Malé Water and Sewerage Company’s (MWSC) reverse osmosis plant could mean it is five days before  normal service can  be resumed.

The capital has been without water for 24 hours after a fire at the MWSC caused extensive damage to the reverse osmosis plant, upon which the capital is dependent for desalinated water.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to do all he can to help the Maldives, after pleas from her Maldivian counterpart.

A statement from the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs this afternoon has stated tha India, Sri Lanka, the USA and China have pledged assistance.

As well as the flight from India, two Indian ships with desalinating capabilities and one from the US naval vessel are headed to the Maldives, while water is being brought on every flight from Sri Lanka, explained the ministry.

“The president, the people and the foreign minister of Maldives expresses their gratitude to all nations assisting the Maldives is these harsh times,” read the statement.

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has confirmed that INS Sukanya will arrive in Malé tonight, equipped with two reverse osmosis plants in order to produce water “round the clock”.

“Mindful of the strong friendly and close relations between India and Maldives, India reacted with alacrity and promptness to the request from Maldives for timely provision of water,” said the high commission, revealing that the second flight in expected at 3:40pm.

Large queues quickly formed outside shops yesterday evening as the demand for bottled water prompted the government to declare the situation a disaster, with the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) giving water away at ten designated distribution points.

Home Minister Umar Naseer has said that current reserves have been exhausted, with more fresh water expected from MWSC at 6pm today.

Nazim told the press that authorities were confident supply could be resumed for one in every six hours, while the MNDF has told Haveeru that over 77,000 litres had been brought from water plants in Hulhumalé, Thilafushi, and Thulusdhoo.

After reports that some shops had drastically increased the price of bottled water, the Ministry of Economic Development is said to have warned of severe consequences for retailers hiking prices.

Though some unrest was reported in one store early yesterday evening, police have said no additional incidents were reported overnight, though rumours of some of the capital’s foreign workers being ejected from water lines have spread.

Both the home minister and Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb have issued tweets saying that water will be distributed to all without discrimination.

Former President and Leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called upon Maldivians to stay calm until the crisis passes. President Abdulla Yameen – currently out of the country on unofficial business – has not yet commented on the situation.

Despite an announcement that water supply would be resumed between 8 and 9pm yesterday evening, the only rain many residents received came in the form of heavy downpour just after 8pm.

As many rushed to collect rainwater – prompting reports of a rush on the sale of buckets – the Health Protection Authority (HPA) has urged caution.

“We request all Malé citizens to take extreme caution when collecting and drinking rain water. All sorts of impurities will be present in water overflow water in roofs. Ensure the water is safe to drink by boiling the water,” Haveeru reported a HPA statement as reading.

The home minister – part of a task force of ministers assigned to deal with the problem – has this morning shared pictures of replacement parts being taken to the MWSC, stating that Singapore’s Hitachi company will assist with the repairs.

Water shortages have become increasingly common in outlying parts of the Maldives, with low-lying islands unable to rely on contaminated ground water supplies.

The crowded capital has long relied on desalinated water, with well-water in the capital unfit for consumption and only utilised for the flushing of toilets in a small number of residences.

Related to this story

Malé water supply cut after fire at MWSC

Alifushi still without water as more islands request emergency water

Ihavandhoo islanders to pray for rain after twelve month drought


42 thoughts on “Indian aircraft arrives to ease Malé water crisis”

  1. One can only hope this is just a water crisis due to an innocent random accident.

    But on second thoughts (actually first thoughts), there may be bigger story behind this 'accident'

    In anycase, this incident is a test of Maldivian unity, just like after Nov 3

  2. The situation has been declared a disaster, yet not a single word, message, statement or even a tweet from President Yameen. This really shows how disconnected he is from the people, especially in the capital. Leaders of foreign countries have issued messages of support and assurance to the Maldivian people, but yet our own leader doesn’t care.

  3. Would you people please stop with the conspiracy theories. We have a disaster going on so lets deal with it first. YAMEEN ISTHIUFAAAAA!

  4. You can now add drinking water to the zillion other things we cow worshippers give you.....for free.
    Where are the water tankers from your Sunni buddies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

  5. Maldives authority should ready backup for water machine if there water crysis could happen. Well Indian is with you. May force be with you.

  6. I Hope every thing gets alright in Male soon....
    Good to know that Indian Govt is doing the right thing......

  7. Anything given in kind will be taken in good sprit . No matter where it is coming from.

    People like MissIndia is shame for their own country and just giving some water is not going to bring back GMR and MissIndia corruption

  8. MissIndiaAgarwaltheThug, Now NIMHANS is calling loud and clear that you have to be admitted immediately. Run, Run, Run get yourself admitted before you are found running naked on the streets. DETOX yourself from your hangover over Islamaphobia.

  9. This is a wakeup call for this tiny over crowded island capital. If there is slight disruption in any life support system, the whole population will be facing imminent extinction. Imaging if sewerage system shuts down for a week, it is may be more than 896 tons of shit for 3 square kilometer every day, and people will have no place to run away from that cyclone of human waste. Imagine that you have land of less than 1 foot to sleep, to shit and to eat how long you can survives if you get cut off from the depending source. You should start thinking reduction of population in Male’, if there ever happens a tragic accident the half of Maldivian population will simply vanish.

  10. There is no such thing as free 'aid'. It will have hidden strings and obligations.

    Its a wake up call to to have back up plans

  11. All Maldives Utilities in the future needed to be owned, managed and operated by Maldivians. Maldivians are now living through this nightmare because of dependency on foreign ownership of major stake and management of prime utilities like water – MWSC, who has turned the whole thing to a political playground for foreign influences who are using the card to their best advantage. I do not rule out sabotage here.

  12. China will supply some contaminated water within the next few weeks, but only when religious fanatics claim Indian water is un-Islamic and damaging to Maldivian sovereignty.

  13. Male is in a water crisis, with 100,000 people out of water - major cris.

    Yet, the news of an arrival of an aircarft from a certain country is the big story, including the headine here. Why does every thing has to be about India... God.

  14. In exchange, please stop treating our countrymen like trash and r- oh... that's too much to ask from high-and mighty people like you, huh?

    You NEED us to feel superior about yourselves, you losers.

  15. "Hero on Fri, 5th Dec 2014 12:40 AM
    @MissIndia. Still Maldivian will be much cleaner than your cow dung shits on then road and bathing from one of then worst contaminated river Ganga river.
    We do not need your assistance and neither the corrupt GMR to this nation.
    You and your GMR will not recover the money that you bribed to take our airport.
    We don’t need smelly Indian to run our airport"

    A few hours of thirst seems to have changed my idiot brother's mind. 😛

  16. Few points:

    (1) Population consolidation is seen as the solution to all our problems. With more than 1/3 of the population living within 2 s.q. miles, it's criminal not to have backup supplies of fresh water!

    (2) The other 2/3 of the population live in remote islands where there is no potable water at all. They mostly consume contaminated water. No one ever talks about that or has a plan or policy to help with that.

    This is not a natural disaster. This is a man made disaster and the regime must take responsibility since its their duty to supply essential services. Look where the dear leader is! In Malaysia! How very convenient? He's not likely to know what a day without fresh water means is he?

  17. ys just becoz someone has a name miss India doesnt mean HE is Indian....:) Beware of those who want to instigate animosity among countrymen and neighbors

  18. I have no issue with the water and my Island have enough water and water shortage is in Male'.

    Anyway, people like MissIndia and GMR will not be allowed on this soil and our airport will not be given back to those corrupt idiots.

    Nasheed and his Gangs can jump up and down and it will not happen.

  19. Maldives should accept they are beggars.
    Big talks and nothing in their heads. They do not respect other nations and other religions.

    Almighty God Allah is punishing this third grade nation.

    Adeeb will run naked in awhile looking for waster. He will fetch water for yamin.

    Bunch of jokers and idiots. Big promises.
    Not even providing basic water facility to the population.

  20. @scholar: You are correct! Developing independent resources of water, electricity and internet is illegal in this country - the crime of making state-owned monopolies lose profit!.

  21. Apparently this 'free aid' will be given to shops to be sold to the public.

    I guess free aid is haraam since it doesnt profit the greedy businessmen, huh?

  22. Maldivian on Sat, 6th Dec 2014 11:42 AM

    Free Aid to shops and business owned by government officials would have been a stronger point to make.

    Once again suffer the little man in the street who goes thirsty and unable to provide for his family. Because I guarantee you'll all still be paying water bills, even though you haven't any coming through your taps.

  23. Why that type of thing hppn i think bcoz of bad security level anyway but its time to who oure true friend (country)..what you think

  24. Ms. India you are a shame to India, all these months I have been taking your comments in lighter vein, but this is not the time to pass such remarks, the Indian culture and thought is deeply respected for rational thought and action. Let's quench their thirst and then you can start your sparring. Maldives is a nation which is tiny, whether the maldivians understand this or not, but we Indians understand that helping our neighbors is our prime duty. I sincerely request that stop sparring for sometime, look forward to your irony laced humor later.

  25. Please dont care @MissIndiaAgarwal or ThugWal... I dont think she/he is Indian... Some AntiIndians trying to damage Indian reputation... If she/he is Really Indian, am Sorry on behalf of her... Real Indians never Undermine others, Guests are gods for us. And We dont expect anythg for our help. Indeed, its our Indian philosophy... LongLive Maldive.

  26. @hero, I am no a Maldivian hater, but hate those maldivians who think they can survive on their own. Ok start a campaign, ask your leaders to ban trade with India ans say no to indian goods, let see what happen. The literate hero will become. Zero Nd you all going to squirm in your shit. So stop behaving that you a giant. Accept you a small prick which needs guidance and cheap exports.

  27. Maldivians have live through history without dependency even before the time of Asoka and Alexander the Macedonian.

    Why is this geopolitics now??? Love it or Leave it to the Maldivians to mend themselves!

    I am Proud for being a Maldivian and so are the hard working compatriots.

    Just because of half-a-dozen run-on-the-mill and well-to-do roudies; because their fathers and families sweated-out, do not mean that every Maldivian is in the twilight-zone and a bum!

    Buy back the foreign major shares and real Maldivians will be better off running their own utilities.Foreign ownership does not mean that they will treat Maldivians kindly. Their interest and job is to rip-off the Maldivian, make the maximum out the opportunity and create mess like right now.

    Leave us to mend ourselves.

  28. No matter which party governing India, India is the true friend, whenever help needed they always give assistance. we should learn how to appreciate.

  29. Why is everyone obsessed with my gender and nationality?
    Just because I am outspoken in my views doesn't mean I am Pakistani. There are millions of Indians like me who consider you to be backward and unsophisticated. Seriously, do I sound as though I was educated in some back street madrasa in Karachi? My social class, elitist education and sophistication clearly shows in my posts.
    I hope the water crisis is over soon so you guys can at least have a shower and flush the loo. With so many unwashed bodies and unflushed toilets around, the stench in Male must be overpowering.
    Maybe we should send a crop sprayer to spray some perfume (Eau de Male Pour Homme ) over your crowded capital city.

  30. This is why you are called pakisthani...Dont act to spoil Indian sound streetThug, not India...

  31. Be aware my Maldives friends, some people of other countries, may be pakistan or china, are giving baseless and provocative comments posing themselves as Indian. Indian govt. has changed now with new regime of Mr. Modi & has heartly support to their cooperative neighbours especially SAARC countries.

    I can tell we in India has very good images of Maldevians..& support & cooperation for each other's development is heartly welcome.

  32. Lets accept, We Maldivians should not waver our mind regarding partnership with India, If not for India 2 decades before, Out country could have overrun by a LTTE. Even now if we side with China/XYZ..India may just send a single fighter plane to disrupt the entire Maldives infrastructure as a revenge to helping out Chinese Navy. Stakes are too high, hope the leaders and people understand this reality and get adjusted.

  33. All my Maldivian friends India is der with u
    In future u can come to India if the sea level goes up.


Comments are closed.