Maldivian Red Crescent Responds to Malé Water Crisis

Published: 7 December 2014 12:00 CET

By Maude Froberg

After a fire broke out inside the Maldives Water and Sewerage Company’s Generator Unit on 4 December, all water supplies in the capital Malé were cut off. Over 150,000 people were instantly affected, as most households rely on The Water and Sewage Company for their daily water needs. Following the incident the Government of the Maldives declared a state of emergency, and a task force was set up to distribute free water. 

“The third day into the crisis, the situation remain serious,” says Safa Musthafa, Communications Manager for Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC). “Yet temporary water plants now ensure an hour of water supply every six hours but at very low pressure and not accessible to all households.”

Distribution of drinking water is crucial, and together with the Maldives National Defence Force (MND) and the Police, Maldivian Red Crescent has deployed 150 volunteers and 24 staff who are working in three-shifts to assist people waiting in long lines at distributions points around Malé.

Simon Missiri, Head of South Asia Regional Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), just visited the Maldives. 

"It's rare that a country has 50 per cent of its population affected by such a huge crisis. The government of the Maldives, with the support of the Maldivian Red Crescent, is doing a tremendous work to assist its people." he says, adding, "The most urgent need now is to get the supplies going. We are sending our first consignment of 5,000 litres of bottled water from Sri Lanka. There is also an immediate need for desalination plants and jerry cans to carry water."

The IFRC will be releasing funds from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), a mechanism to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross Red Crescent emergency response to disasters. In addition, the IFRC is providing technical and in-kind support to the MRC, together with other partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.