As India, China, and Sri Lanka have supplied large quantities of fresh water, President Yameen expressed his thanks to these countries for their help.
Following India’s gesture of sending shipload of water tankers and sending a plane with water bottles, the Chinese government donated $500,000 to the Maldives government to speed up the repairs of a desalination plant and restore water supply to the capital, an official said in Male.
The donation was offered Sunday after the Maldives government announced an estimated $20 million would be required to repair the plant that was damaged in a fire on Thursday resulting in the capital’s population of 130,000 being without water for four days, Xinhua reported.
“The Chinese government has already come forward with a $500,000 donation. Discussions are ongoing with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and other Arab governments. We hope to get monetary aid from them,” Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim told reporters.
Private donors have also chipped in with an anonymous $1 million also coming in from a Saudi businessman.
Water services to the capital Male were shut off on Thursday after a crippling fire damaged crucial components of the island’s sole desalination facility the Male Water and Sewerages Company (MWSC) leaving thousands of people without water for bathing, cleaning, and cooking.
Authorities have acknowledged that damage to the capital’s desalination plant is extensive, and could take between three days and a week to fully repair.
Large numbers of homes, hotels, shops and restaurants are either still without water or have access only at ground level resulting in long lines forming at water distribution centres.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Saturday cut short a personal trip to Malaysia where his son is reported to be receiving medical treatment to deal with the crisis.
Fresh supplies of water continue to arrive from abroad most notably from China and India, with distribution being carried out by the Maldives National Defence Force with the assistance of local non-governmental organisations alongside numerous private businesses.
The Chinese government has arranged for all commercial flights out of China to Male to be loaded with drinking water. The first batch arrived on Saturday morning carrying 15 tonnes of bottled water.
The Maldives government has set up water distribution centres at schools and other public spaces, with each person allowed two 1.5 litre bottles.
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has admitted that the water crisis in the capital city was caused by lack of preparedness but his government has done well to bring the situation under control, authorities said Monday.
President Yameen spoke to the public for the first time Sunday regarding the Male water crisis, and said that there could have been no fall-back plan for such a crisis, Xinhua reported.
“We did not have any fall-back plan for any disaster of this magnitude. However, we have done extreme hard work to try and bring the situation back to normal,” he said.
He said the low odds of such an incident’s occurrence had prevented the state-owned Male Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) from making plans to deal with the current situation.
Yameen said that five of the nine panel boards at the MWSC had now been fully repaired, estimating that the full effort would cost $20 million, which is currently being raised by the government.
Male plunged into crisis last Thursday when a fire at MWSC gutted the desalination plant, leaving 130,000 people without water, leading to dwindling of bottled drinking water supply.
The 130,000 residents of capital city of Male consume around 14,000 metric tonnes of water a day, with the fully functioning plant being able to produce only around 20,000 tonnes.