Comment: Moved by Maldivian generosity

This article is by Isha Afeef

I volunteered on Saturday to help fundraise for the Nepal earthquake relief effort in Malé. It was heart-warming to see the immense public support for the event. People of all ages stop by the donation box where I sat, from children with fistfuls of coins to a sick elderly man who stopped by the Galolhu football stadium just to donate. Some migrant workers also chipped in.

The Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) and the Maldives Medical Association (MMA), have now collected more than MVR1.7million (US$109,677).

Nearly 9,000 people have died since an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal on April 25. Another tremor measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck on May 15, leading to more deaths.

“When the international appeal with the lists of items and funding that Nepal needed came out from International Red Crescent, we evaluated we could deliver at our capacity, and decided that it was funding,” MRC president Ali Nashid said.

“Our sum had to be realistic. We considered two main things: the economic state of the country, and that the donors we would be asking for funds would also be assisting with our projects in the future. So we set a target of $200,000,” he said.

The MMA was the first to take the initiative, as many of its members had gone to medical school in Nepal. The MRC’s volunteers walked door to door in Addu City and Fuvahmuah Island this month, while others in Thaa Atoll Veymandhoo and Meemu Atoll Kolhufushi held children’s evenings to raise funds.

Dhiraagu and Ooredoo set up a system where customers could donate via text messages.

On Saturday, the Maldives media held a telethon. A children’s evening was held at Malé’s Raalhugandu and a music show was held at night. Fund boxes were placed at the Galolhu Stadium and ten other locations in Malé. The veterans of the Maldivian national football team and MPs also played a football match.

Nepal boduberu

At the fund box at Galolhu, people who stopped by were warm and sincere in their well wishes. To me, it showed how dear Maldivians hold the values of generosity and kindness, and how willing Maldivians are to help people affected by natural disasters, no matter where disaster strikes in the world.

Mothers donated multiple times on behalf of their children. One elderly man stopped by with a Bangladeshi man who works for him. When the expatriate worker donated, the elderly man stepped up to the box and made a generous contribution. He said he was very sick, but that he had not been able to resist coming to the stadium to make a donation with his own hands.

Hundreds also bought tickets to watch the football match between the veteran Maldivian national football team and the Maldives’ parliamentarians.

“Our main focus now is to make sure that every penny reaches Nepal Red Crescent, and we will be accountable for it,” Nashid said.

The MRC estimates the final figure to reach MVR1.9million.

A young MRC volunteer, Ahmed Shamau said, he, too was moved by the extraordinary display of kindness by the public. “It’s shown strength, all these people uniting for humanity.”

“When the Tsunami struck the Maldives, Nepal was one of the countries that contributed to help us. And now that they’re in need, we’ll do the best we can in our capacity,” he added.

The chairperson of the MRC, Mohamed Junaid, thanked all of the volunteers.

“The biggest role in these efforts in being done by these dedicated individuals. We had over 50 responses to the call for assistance by Malé branch alone. And we are proud to say that our volunteers work just for humanitarian values, as seen by their dedication to the telethon in these past four days.”

Two MRC volunteers who work with the regional disaster response team are in Nepal at present. Mariyam Aisha, the first female volunteer to be deployed on a regional mission, reached Nepal on May 16. Moosa Shifaz has been active in Nepal since May 2.

Junaid says Aisha and Shifaz are “an inspiration.”


Fund-raising activities will continue till May 27. Here are the MRC’s bank details if you wish to make a donation.

7701-176022-001 (MVR)
7701-176022-002 (USD)
Maldivian Red Crescent

9901-01-55500036-100 (MVR)
9901-01-55500036-200 (USD)
Maldivian Red Crescent

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Telethon planned to raise funds for Nepal earthquake relief

Maldives media are preparing for a telethon on Saturday to raise funds for earthquake relief in Nepal.

The telethon – organized by the Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) and the Maldives Medical Association – will begin at 12:30pm and run till 6pm. The MRC is also organizing a football match in Malé at 4:15pm on Saturday to raise funds.

Nepal was hit by a second major earthquake on May 12, two weeks after the devastating earthquake in which more than 8000 people were killed.

The estimated damage could cost billions, aid agencies have said.

President Abdulla Yameen has pledged US$50,000 for the relief effort, and the Maldives Police Services and the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital have also pledged to donate.

The Maldives raised US$1.9million to help Palestinians who lost their homes in the Israeli offensive in Gaza last year.

The International Federation of Red Crescent (IFRC) has completed 100 housing units in Gaza with the US$1.9 million raised by the Maldivian media


A hundred Maldivians awaiting evacuation in Nepal

Nearly a hundred Maldivian students and their families are awaiting evacuation from Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake which has killed over 3000 people and left thousands more injured and homeless.

All Maldivians are safe, the foreign ministry has confirmed.

Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon says flights are on standby for clearance from India to use the country’s airspace, according to Haveeru. 

Majority of the Maldivians in Nepal are at the capital Kathmandu’s police academy grounds, and will be brought back within 48 hours, a senior official at the foreign ministry told Minivan News.

The Maldivian honorary consul in Nepal is providing food, water and blankets, the foreign ministry has said.

Some 14 Maldivians in south eastern Biratnagar have crossed over to India. The foreign ministry said it has faced some challenges in tracking down all Maldivians in Nepal, and said the consul is transporting Maldivians in other areas of the country to Kathmandu.

The Islamic ministry is also allocating funds from its Zakat fund for evacuation, the foreign ministry said.

President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz tweeted last night that the evacuation flight is sponsored by the tourism industry.

Nepal was struck with a 7.8 magnitude on April 25. Recent reports from the BBC suggest that the official death toll will climb as rescue efforts continue. Thousands of people are believed to be trapped under rubble. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and damaging its base camp. The quake has destroyed thousands of buildings and historic monuments.

The Maldivian red crescent and the Maldivian medical association have set up a Nepal relief fund to collect money for relief efforts. Many Maldivian medical students in Kathmandu are reported to be helping out at hospitals. 

Telecoms providers Ooredoo and Dhiraagu have announced they will not levy charges for calls to Nepal for the next three days to enable customers to get in touch with family members in Nepal.

President Abdulla Yameen on Saturday sent a message of sympathy to the Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, stating: “At this hour of deep distress, the people of the Maldives stand together with our Nepalese friends, while wishing the recovery efforts every success.”

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said that the party was “profoundly saddened by the loss of lives, and great damages” caused by the earthquake.


Maldives top SAFF group, draw India in semis

The Maldives secured top spot in their South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship group, playing out a nil-nil draw yesterday in Kathmandhu.

With both sides assured of a place in the semi-finals going into yesterday’s game, key players were rested, including the tournament’s top scorer Ali Ashfaq. His contribution to the Maldives impressive goalscoring thus far – 18 goals in two games, with 2 conceded – meant that his side topped the group at the final whistle.

The Maldives goalscoring prowess may come back to haunt them, however, as top ranked side India were unable to finish top of their own group, thereby setting up an encounter with their neighbours to the south in the next round.

India lost to hosts Nepal on Thursday (September 5), setting up their clash with the Maldives on Monday (September 9), with Nepal facing Afghanistan on Sunday.

The final will be played on Wednesday (September 11)


Maldives to kick off SAFF championship

The Maldives national football team will kick off its South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF) campaign against Sri Lanka tonight.

Despite the resignation of the Team Manager Ibrahim Amir after a dispute over player discipline during the team’s pre-tournament trip to Thailand, officials are confident that all adversities can become overcome.

“I believe it’s a loss to the team if we lose anyone close to the team,” said Assistant Secretary General of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), Mohamed Nasir.

“However, the team is very determined to win despite the situation,” he added.

Amir left the team after disagreements with the FAM over the inclusion of two players in the squad. Nasir recommended the suspension of Ismail Easa and Hassan Adham after the pair returned late to the team hotel, but was overruled by the FAM who argued it was too late to replace the two important players.

Team captain and all-time leading goalscorer Ali Ashfaq told media today that he felt preparations for this tournament had been better than ever before.

“We came here to win the tournament and be with us as the 12th player. Insha Allah we will win the tournament this time, so be with us.” said Ashfaq.

SAFF record

The Maldives are the second most successful team in the tournament’s twenty year history, behind six time winners India. The Maldives’ sole victory came in 2008, after they defeated India team who are otherwise unbeaten in the competition since 2005.

The Maldives take on neighbours Sri Lanka – kick off 5:45 Maldivian time – in the second of Group B’s games. Afghanistan and Bhutan will play this afternoon.

The two sides last met in the semi-finals of the 2009 SAFF championship, with the Maldives claiming an emphatic 5-1 victory in Male’.

Group A’s games began on Saturday, with tournament hosts Nepal beating Bangladesh 2-0. This was followed by champions India beating neighbours Pakistan 1-0.

Coach Istvan Urbanyi – retained by the FAM for his third SAFF tournament – told media last week that the final group game against Afghanistan (September 6) would be crucial.

“No need to talk about options. The first two games we must win, and last game is probably a fight to which position who will qualify, but its better to focus on each game,” Urbanyi told the press.

Afghanistan are the highest FIFA-ranked team in the tournament, followed by India and then the Maldives.

“We have a good team, but nobody can say that they have the strongest team. Small details will make a difference. We are ready to fight. Our target is to take back the trophy to make fans happy,” said the Hungarian coach.


Maldives bows out of Twenty20 elite cup tournament after successive defeats

The Maldives has suffered successive defeats by Hong Kong and Malaysia in its final two group matches of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC’s) Twenty20 elite cup tournament presently being held in Nepal.

The Maldives squad was defeated by top of the table Hong Kong by 153 runs on Friday (March 29) , before recording an eight wicket loss to Malaysia with 52 balls remaining on March 31, according to ESPN.

With the group matches now over, the Maldives has found itself in second to last place in the Group A table with just two points after defeating last place Singapore on Wednesday (March 27) – its only victory of the current campaign.

After finishing in the top two places in the Group A and Group B tables, Hong Kong will today face Afghanistan, while host nation Nepal will play the United Arab Emirates in the tournament’s semi-finals.

The two finalists – who both secure one of two spots available at the World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament to be held in the UAE in November – will then meet tomorrow at Tribhuvan in the championship decider.


Maldives overcome Singapore in second ACC Twenty20 tournament match

The Maldives has bounced back from defeat in its opening match of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC’s) Twenty20 elite cup tournament in Nepal with a five wicket victory over Singapore yesterday (March 27).

Having previously been defeated by host nation Nepal by 76 runs on Tuesday (March 26), the Maldives secured a narrow victory over Singapore during its second match of the tournament, held at the cricket ground at Pulchowk’s Institute of Engineering, the Himalayan Times publication has reported.

According to the ACC, the Maldives will now face Hong Kong on Friday (March 29), before playing its final Group A fixture against Malaysia on Sunday (March 31).

The Maldives squad is competing in the group for one of two spots available at the World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament to be held in the UAE in November.


Bangladesh media reports SAARC summit uncertainty following regional unrest

Political unrest in the Maldives and Nepal during 2012 has set back preparations for the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bangladesh-based media has reported today.

According to The Daily Star newspaper, the next summit meeting for the heads of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives had been scheduled to be held in Kathmandu during May 2013.

However, the chances of meeting such a date are now alleged to be unlikely over reports that no preparatory work has been undertaken by Nepalese authorities.

Citing unnamed “diplomatic sources”, the Daily Star has claimed that the postponement of an inter-summit session of the organisation’s council of ministers by the Maldives – in its position of current SAARC Chair – had further set back Nepal’s own preparations.

“The Maldives, the current SAARC Chair, is also in serious political crisis following the alleged ouster of Mohamed Nasheed as president of the country in February last,” wrote the newspaper.

The inter-summit session is reported to have been required under the SAARC Charter to be held six months after the organisation’s previous summit in order to finalise the dates, venue, and agenda of its next meeting.

Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Samad Abdulla and President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza were not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press.

The previous SAARC summit meeting was held back in Addu Atoll in November 2010.

During the summit, former President Mohamed Nasheed identified several key issues to be addressed including trade, transport, economic investment, security against piracy, climate change and good governance.


Maldives to face India in Nehru Cup tonight

The Maldives National Football team face hosts India in their second match in the 2012 Nehru Cup this evening after recording victory over Nepal on Thursday (August 25).

The Maldives squad beat the Nepalese 2-1 with goals from Abdulla Asadhulla and  Easa Ismail in the 7th and 77th minutes respectively. With practically the last kick off the game, Jumanu Rai grabbed a consolation goal for Nepal.

Meanwhile, India beat Syria on the opening day of the tournament by the same score, prompting their Dutch coach, Wim Koevermans, to predict a place in the final for his defending champions if their form continued.

In contrast, Maldives coach, Istvan Urbanyi, has told India Today of his concerns regarding his team’s fitness.

“Most of my players have just come after a month of observing Ramadan. Also, we had little practice before coming here,” said Urbanyi.
Tonight’s match kicks off at 7:00PM (IST) – 6:30PM in Male’.