Strong wind and heavy rain forecast over the next 24 hours

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected over the central and southern areas from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. today, Maldives Meteorological Service (MMS) has said.

Thunderstorms are expected over the area between Haa Alif and  Gaafu Dhaalu atoll today (May 1), and the MMS have issued a White Alert.

In addition, the Met Office has forecast strong winds and heavy rain in most parts of Maldives within the next 24 hours.

The country is expected to experience winds up to 40 mph hour during storms. Northern atolls can expect heavy gusts at speeds of 15 miles per hour (mph) during showers and southern atolls can expect winds between 10 mph and 20 mph during showers, according to local media Sun Online.


Conflicting reports of dengue alert issued by Health Ministry

State Health Minister Abdul Bari Abdulla was unable to confirm whether the ministry had issued dengue alert today.

Earlier today, Haveeru reported that the Health ministry had issued a warning over a recurring dengue outbreak in the Maldives. Hospitals have seen an increase in the number of reported and admitted dengue cases over the last three weeks.

The report stated that heavy rains are sustaining mosquito breeding activities, and that Maldivians should be aware of the increased risk of contracting the illness.

An outbreak in July made 2011 the worst year for dengue fever on record with 11 fatalities since January.

A task force headed by Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Abdullah Nazeer, was appointed to handle the outbreak. The Ministry of Health did not assume control of the situation for a week after the outbreak began.

At the time, Dr Nazeer told Minivan News that the government faced two obstacles in its response to the outbreak.

“Number one is a lack of proper communication between the Health Ministry and local councils,” he said. “The second was that they did not have the capacity to resolve the issues.”

In 2006, dengue claimed ten lives. This year’s earlier outbreak fatality rate surpassed that record when a 22-year old man died in late July. A 37-year old Indian national also died of dengue fever that month.

The ministry said 2421 cases were reported in August this year, Haveeru reports.


Wind fells 500 year-old Banyan tree in Kuribi

A strong wind blew down a 500 year-old Banyan tree in Kuribi of Haadhaalu Atoll, which was believed to be among the ancient relics remaining on the island.

Island Councilor Abdul Wahid told Minivan News that the tree fell down on Friday afternoon at around 3:00pm due to a strong wind that came with the rain clouds.

”The wind was blowing faster than 70 km/h,” said Wahid. ”Many coconut palm trees and other trees in the area fell down,”

Wahid said the tree was 125 feet long and was used as a landmark for travelers, as it was visible on the horizon before even the island appeared.

”It would have a diameter of 15 feet and a spread of 200 feet,” Wahid said.

He said that nobody was injured during the incident.

”It fell and hit the outer wall of Hukuru Miskiy [Friday mosque] and damaged the wall,” he said. ”Some other trees in the area were also pulled down.”

He said that the ancient Banyan tree would be put up for auction tomorrow.

An official at the Department of Meteorology (MET) said that its bureau on Hanimaadhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll has recorded that Hanimaadhoo experienced strong winds blowing at almost 90 km/h on Friday afternoon.

She said that the heavy rain and strong winds was due to the southwest monsoon,  and added that no tornadoes had been recorded recently.


A solid two days of rain in Nolhivaram, also in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, has caused shin-high flooding.

Island Councilor Hussein Areef said the deluge lasted from Friday morning to 10pm last night, and had caused the water level to rise to to 1.5 feet in some areas.

Eight houses on the island had been flooded, he said, and some trees had died.

Areef said that schools were closed today due to the flood.

”Many trees on island also fell due to the rain and strong wind,” Areef said. ”We are trying to drain the water and we hope we can reopen the schools by tomorrow.”

”Now it is not raining, but the sky is overcasts and by 6:00pm it would start showering again,” he added.


Hithaadhoo now out of water

Hithaadhoo in Baa Atoll has completely run out of water, claims Island councilor Amir Abdul Latheef.

He said he has been getting complaints since yesterday morning that all houses on the island had no water.

”We informed the utilities company that we have no water on the island,” Amir said, ”they told us that they would send water as soon as possible.”

Amir said the islanders were using ground water from the island, a practice banned by the Health Ministry twelve years ago because of the toxicity.

”Only a few wealthy men use mineral water but the majority of people cannot afford to buy water everyday,” he said. ”There are 1227 people on the island,” Amir noted.

He said he had never witnessed a situation similar to this in his whole life. ”[The last time] it rained was eight months ago,” he said,”the situation on the island is now much worse.”

He said the island office was trying to prevent infants from having to use the impure ground water.

”It rains occasionally but that much is not usable as the roofs are dusty and such small amount of rain does not even clean the roofs,” he said.

Amir said people of the island were now in danger of becoming sick with fevers and diseases due to drinking impure water.

State Minister for Health Abdul Baary Abdulla said there were many diseases that could potentially result from the use of contaminated water, including diarrhoea, stomach ailments and skin diseases.

Amir had recently complained several times that the island would completely run out of water during the weekend if the government does not provide it for them urgently.


Children injured by lightning

Lightning strikes have injured four children in Haa Alifu Dhidhoo.

Miadhu reported that the four children were playing at an abandoned house during a heavy rain storm, which was struck by lightning. Two of the boys were below the age of 18 years while the other two were 18.

The Dhidhoo hospital reported that one child’s condition was serious while another had already been released, reports Miadhu.

The lightning strike had also caused some houses in Dhidhoo to lose electricity.


Heavy rain floods 11 islands

Islands in two atolls have been flooded following heavy storms currently over much of the country, Haveeru reports.

The two affected atolls were Noonu and Shaviyani; Noonu atoll had nine islands flooded and Shaviyani two.

Mohamed Maahidhu, the councilor of Noonu atoll said some islands had as much as three to four feet of flooding.

According to Haveeru, some people have temporarily moved into friend’s and relative’s houses because of the damage caused to their own homes.

The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has been working with residents to drain the water from the flooded islands.

According to the meteorological office, the country will experience heavy rain over the next couple of days.