Air force transports repair equipment to Malé as water crisis hits one week

Friday, 12 December 2014 04:36 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Air Force in a special humanitarian operation on Thursday transported from Singapore to Maldives the essential equipment to repair the desalination facility in Maldives capital of Malé and restore water supply, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. The custom built panels will replace the damaged panel boards connecting electricity generators and desalination plants at the Malé Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC). Of the nine panel boards, five were functional on Monday and MWSC had started releasing water to households in two three-hour periods in the morning and at night. “Due to the size and dimensions of the cargo, it was not feasible to dispatch the equipment on a commercial flight,” the statement said. “Therefore, acceding to a request from the Government of Maldives, President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed the Sri Lanka Air Force to undertake the transport of the equipment to Maldives on an urgent basis,” it added. The capital Malé was plunged into crisis a week ago as a fire at MWSC gutted the desalination plant, leaving 130,000 people without running water. China, India and Sri Lanka airlifted water in the subsequent days with Bangladesh also assisting since the start of this week. China and India also sent ships with desalination plants on board to assist with water supply and the Maldives government on Wednesday insisted “the worst is over”. Estimated cost for the repairs was put at $ 20 million and the Government established a crisis management fund to collect the necessary cash. To date the Government had collected $ 5.5 million, local media reported, including $ 500,000 as a donation from the Chinese Government. The Government has said it could take up to two weeks to fully repair the damage. President Abdulla Yameen has said that there could have been no backup plan for a “disaster of this magnitude”.