Two men drown in Fiyori, one boat sinks in bad weather

Two men drowned in southern Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Fiyori in bad weather and a boat with a cargo of timber has sunk in Malé atoll today.

The metreology department predicts heavy rains, strong winds up to 45 miles per hour and rough seas across the Maldives for the next 24 hours.

A yellow alert, indicating tidal swells, severe thunderstorms, and winds between 30 and 40 miles per hour, has been issued for the central and southern atolls.

Hassan Shihab, 53, and Abdulla Daood, 60, drowned in the lagoon of Fiyori Island while fishing this morning. The two men had waded 450 meters away from the shoreline.

Both were strong swimmers, but the currents were too strong, the island council said.

A man on the shore got on a speedboat and went to pick the two up when he saw Shihab and Daood going under. By the time he reached the two, Daood was already dead. He could detect a faint pulse in Shihab’s body. But doctors pronounced both men dead at the island’s health post.

A 70-foot boat carrying timber and five crew members sank in northern Malé Atoll at about 2:00pm today.

The coastguard found the two Maldivians and three expatriate workers in a dinghy and have now brought the crew to Malé.

Another boat nearly sank near Baa Atoll Goedhoo island to the north east of Malé this morning. The 65-foot boat started taking on water at 8:30am causing its engine to stall.

The coastguard towed the boat to shore at noon.

The Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) has warned seafarers to be cautious, and urged boats not to take on excessive weight.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in four southern islands, and damaged crops in Gaaf Dhaal Vaadhoo.

MNDF officers are pumping out flood waters in Hoadhedhoo, Madaveli and Thinadhoo islands in Gaaf Dhaal atoll and in Fuvahmulah Island.


Fiyori council passes resolution to protect mangrove

Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Fiyori Island Council has passed a resolution declaring the Island’s mangrove area as protected, local media ‘Sun‘ has reported.

The resolution passed at an open public meeting on Thursday said the mangrove area at the south end of t he island is being declared protected for its unique natural features. The council noted that it is a natural breeding ground for freshwater ‘Beyngu’ (Milkfish) and shrimp, in addition to being  suitable for culturing sea cucumber.

According to the council resolution, the mangrove has sustained serious damaged following a tidal wave which hit the seaward side of the island in 2012. A large area on the beach front at the edge of the mangrove cracked open, felling trees on the beach inside the mangrove.

If the island fails to seal the area, it may cause further damage, the council noted.

The Fiyori mangrove is included in the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) list of ‘environmentally sensitive areas’ – which are not yet officially protected.

Mangroves and wetlands around the country are also being damaged due to development projects. Mangroves areas on two islands, Kulhudhufushi and Farukolhu are to be reclaimed for airport development, despite criticism from environmental organizations.