Male/New Delhi: With the Maldivian capital facing an acute water crisis after a fire in the city's water treatment plant, India on Friday sent an IAF transport aircraft and naval vessels carrying a large consignment of water to meet the immediate requirement of over 100,000 people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj are seized of the crisis and have promised full assistance to the people and leadership of Maldives, a statement by the Indian High Commission in Male said.
"Mindful of the strong, friendly and close relations between India and the Maldives, India reacted with alacrity and promptness to the request from the Maldives for timely provision of water," the High Commission said.
The first aircraft (IL 76) arrived in Male today at 1315 hrs carrying a large consignment of water to meet the immediate requirement.
It was received by Col (Retd) Mohamed Nazim, Minister of Defence and National Security of Maldives, also the Head of the task force setup to deal with the water crisis, along with Fisheries Minister Shainee, Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim, Ambassador Abdul Hameed and Vice Chief of Defence Forces.
Subsequently two more aircrafts IL 76 and C 17 would be arriving later in the day.
Indian Navy's patrol vessel INS Sukanya would arrive in Male tonight and would be stationed to produce water round the clock to meet the water crisis.
It is carrying 35 tonnes of fresh water and has two Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants onboard which have a capacity of producing 20 tonnes of fresh water per day.
Apart from this, a large tanker vessel INS Deepak has also set sail from Mumbai. Two more offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) have been kept on stand-by, for any future requirements.
"Defence Minister Nazim expressed his deepest appreciation and heartfelt thanks for India's prompt response to alleviate the problems of Maldivians in the true spirit of our close and time-tested ties," the statement said.
A major fire broke out at the Male Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) generator control panel on December 4, causing extensive damage to the cabling of the generator to the Distillation plants and disconnection of water supply.
The only water available at Male is stored in tanks and sumps and is being supplied for one hour every twelve hours.
The city, located on a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean, has no natural water source and entirely depends on treated sea water.