India provides assistance to Maldives, sends drinking water

India provides assistance to Maldives, sends drinking water

By: || Updated: 05 Dec 2014 01:33 PM
New Delhi: India Friday extended "all assistance" to Maldives, which has declared emergency after a fire at capital's sole water sewage treatment plan led to shortage of drinking water in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.


Foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin tweeted: "India to provide all assistance to Maldives in facing water shortage due to fire in desalination plant."


He added that the "first sortie" of Indian assistance arrived in Male.


"First IL-76 with drinking water from India lands in Male," he said.


"Big bird comes with water in its bowels. India's High Commissioner in Maldives @RajeevShahare hands over assistance," he added.


Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in a tweet said that she has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation. She said prime minister "has promised all help."


She also said that Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon spoke to her Thursday night and informed her that there was urgent need of drinking water in Maldives.


Swinging into action, India has pressed into service five air force transport aircraft and one naval vessel carrying a large consignment of potable water to meet the immediate requirements, an official statement said.


The Indian Navy late Thursday dispatched offshore patrol vessel INS Sukanya with 35 tonnes of fresh water. The vessel also has two Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants onboard which have a capacity of producing 20 tonnes of fresh water per day.


Sukanya was on a routine patrol off Kochi and was diverted to reach Male at the earliest to render necessary assistance and all possible help to Maldivian authorities.


Apart from the IL-76 carrying 22 tonnes of potable water, a C-17 Globemaster III with 28 tonnes have already reached Male.


Another C-17 Globemaster III carrying 50 tonnes of water will be reaching Male Friday evening while two more IL-76s are scheduled to leave New Delhi Friday night.


Maldives has no natural water source and consumes only treated sea water. The problem arose after a major fire broke out at the Male Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) generator control panel Thursday, causing extensive damage to the cabling to the distillation plants and disconnection of water supply.


According to reports, about 100,000 people in capital Male have been left without safe water to drink from the tap. The only water available at Male is stored in tanks and sumps and is being supplied for one hour every 12 hours.


The Maldives, known for its pristine beaches and scuba diving, had appealed to India, Sri Lanka, China and the US for help in providing drinking water.

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