Maldives faces drinking water crisis

100,000 without drinking water in the Maldives


The Maldives declared a state of emergency after a fire at the capital’s only water sewage treatment plant has led to a shortage of drinking water.

About 100,000 people in Male, the capital, have been left without safe water to drink from the tap after damage to the city’s water treatment plant, according to Mohamed Shareef, a government minister.

The Maldivian government has appealed for aid from India, Sri Lanka, the United States and China.

India has already begun airlifting supplies onto the island. “Last night, the Maldives foreign minister contacted us saying they were facing a grave emergency,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin. “For the next seven to eight days they are going to face extreme difficulty with water so they requested all assistance.”

A separate Chinese ship with technical assistance was due on Sunday, said Mohamed Shareef.

Bottled drinking water was provided free of charge by the government but most of the island’s residents were left without enough water to wash.

Some 120,000 people live on the island which measures just two square kilometers (one square mile), making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International