India rushes water to Male

India rushes water to Male

India on Friday rushed 200 tonnes of packaged drinking water and two reverse osmosis plants to Maldives in the wake of a sudden emergency in the island nation following the closure of its desalination plant.

A major fire broke out on Thursday at the Male Water and Sewerage Company generator control panel causing extensive damage to the cabling of the generator for the distillation plants, leading to the disconnection of water supply. Male has a population of more than 1,00,000.

Since Maldives has no natural fresh water source and consumes only treated sea water, the only water available at Male at the moment was what is stored in the overhead tanks and sumps. 

Because of the shortage, the authority is rationing water to the citizens, who are getting water supply for one hour in every 12 hours.

Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon rang up her counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Thursday evening seeking help. The island leadership also sent an SOS to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promptly gave his consent.

Indian Navy was first to react. Its offshore patrol vessel INS Sukanya, which was on a routine mission off Kochi, was diverted for Male on Thursday night. The ship carrying 35 tonnes of drinking water and two reverse osmosis plants on-board with a capacity of producing 20 tonnes of fresh water per day is in the Maldivian water and is about to enter Male, said a Navy official.

Five Indian Air Force heavy lift transport aircraft too flew to the island carrying drinking water. The first one to reach Male was an IL-76 carrying 22 tonnes of potable water, followed by a C-17 Globemaster III carrying 28 tonnes of water.

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