Beijing: China has rushed 1,000 tonnes of fresh water to Maldives by planes and ships, days after India dispatched over 1,200 tonnes of fresh water to overcome the crippling water crisis in the island nation's capital.
China has arranged delivery of bottled water in two Chinese civil aircrafts to Male. The first plane has arrived with 12 tonnes bottled water yesterday morning, while the second one with eight tonnes got there last night, Chinese foreign ministry said, adding that more water will be sent.
An ocean rescue vessel of the Chinese navy suspended its escort mission and headed for Male port on Friday. With 960 tonnes fresh water and seawater desalting facility on board, the vessel is scheduled to arrive at the destination on Monday, Chinese Defence Ministry was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.
Aircraft of Chinese air force have been ready for urgent rescue mission, and the Chinese side is applying for air route with relevant countries, it added.
Male, located on a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean, has no natural water source and entirely depends on treated sea water.
A major fire broke out at the Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (generator control panel on December 4, causing extensive damage to the cabling of the generator to the Distillation plants, disconnecting water supply.
The Maldives has appealed for aid from India, Sri Lanka, the US and China.
India became the first country to provide aid. India on Friday sent nearly 200 tonnes of water by air and dispatched a naval vessel.
The Indian government has till now pressed into service as many as five Indian Air Force transport aircraft and two Naval vessels for the aid effort.
INS Sukanya, an offshore patrol vessel, was on a routine patrol off Kochi when it was diverted to Male.