Sole MDP councillor in Kolhufushi signs for PPM

Sole Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) councilor from Meemu atoll Kolhufushi Island Council, Shuaib Abdullah has signed for the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) today.

Shuaib signed at a ceremony held at the PPM campaign office in Malé which was attended by Tourism Minister and PPM vice President Ahmed Adeeb and Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

Speaking at the ceremony Shuaib said that he joined PPM because the only way to develop the island is by joining the government. He said that he made the decision while keeping the best interest of the inhabitants of Kolhufushi in mind.

An MVR35 million (US$2.27 million) power station was opened in Kolhufushi by the government and handed over to Fenaka coporation yesterday (October 14).

Speaking after the signing today, Adeeb said that the move was part of the party’s campaign to acquire one hundred thousand members and that it would not hold back in implementing the government’s manifesto.


MVR35 million power station opened in Kolhufushi

An MVR35 million (US$2.27 million) power station built by the government in Meemu atoll Kolhufushi was opened and handed over to the Fenaka Corporation today (October 14).

The power station, constructed by Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), was launched at a ceremony held at Kolhufushi by the Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim.

While speaking to local news outlet sun online, a spokesperson from the Fenaka said that the power house has two 250kW generators and one 200kW generator.

Speaking at a ceremony held to inaugurate the distribution of 77 generators government utility company Fenaka last month, President Abdulla Yameen pledged to provide 24hr reliable electricity throughout the country during 2015.


Tsunami survivors still without permanent housing

President Abdulla Yameen has said 427 families who survived the devastating 2004 tsunami still require permanent housing.

During a speech on the occasion of the National Unity Day – commemorating the impact of the tsunami –  Yameen pledged to provide all families with housing in the next year.

“This government will provide housing for all those who were deprived of it with the tsunami, we will do it in 2014 according to the government’s manifesto” Yameen said.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM)  has said that a number of complaints were submitted to the commission by victims of the disaster in 2013. Among these were twelve cases related to damages to houses, of which five cases have been resolved.

Among them was a case involving the government asking people of Meemu Atoll Kolhufushi Island to repay the funds given for repairing damages to their houses.

The commission had also received complaints regarding lack of permanent shelter, compensation for damages caused to houses  and delays in housing projects.

HRCM President  Mariyam Azra has requested the government to take initiative in providing permanent shelter for those currently living in temporary shelters as soon as possible.

Speaking to the media today, commission member Dr Aly Shameem said he hopes the government works towards consolidating democracy and human rights by formulating an action plan as soon a possible.

“We haven’t seen the new government announcing any major policies to consolidate democracy and human rights yet, but the government have assured their full cooperation to the human rights commission,” Shameem said.

According to the Disaster Management Center, 242 individual victims of the disaster are still living in temporary shelters.


Kolhufushi to undergo multi-million dollar make-over

Islanders from Meemu atoll Kolhufushi will have their homes rebuilt in a multi-million dollar make-over after five years of living in temporary shelters following the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The government will use money from a US$15 million Abu Dhabi Fund for the project which will see the reconstruction and renovation of 168 houses, said Dr Mohamed Shareef, deputy minister of housing, transport and environment. Shareef added that the fund will also help pay for renovation on other tsunami-ravaged islands.

The Kolhufushi project will see the construction of a water and electricity network as well as a sewerage system, along with the harbour that was built by the former government.

Shareef said the government had conducted a survey asking every household what they thought was required for the reconstruction.

Reconstruction will get underway next March, he said, as the project has to be opened up to an international bidding process.

“The government will rebuild whatever has been damaged,” he said, explaining that no new houses would be built.

Councillor Mohamed Waheed said that many of the island’s 1,200 residents were living in temporary shelters made of plywood and cement while others still lived in their own houses “in difficult conditions”.

For now, electricity and oil is provided at no charge to the islanders, he said.

Waheed said that during the consultation process, islanders were given the option of having their new homes built in three different styles.

“The previous government also made a lot of promises to the people. The Red Cross people came to the island four or five times but there were a lot of problems. They even finalised plans,” he said.

“There was a conflict between the people and the government. There was an internal war on the island and they couldn’t do it,” he added.

Kolhufushi was one of the islands worst-hit by the tsunami with 16 deaths and extensive damage to the island’s infrastructure.

But the British Red Cross halted reconstruction in January 2007 after the government and islanders failed to come to an agreement over the location of the new houses.

Shareef said islanders were displeased with the organisation’s assessment that only 55 houses were required.

“But building houses is one of President Nasheed’s pledges which is why he will make this a priority,” he said.