Potable water being loaded in C-17 Globemaster III of the Indian Air Force as a humanitarian assistance from India to Maldives, in New Delhi on December 05, 2014.
In a swift response to the ‘National Crisis’ faced by the Maldives, following the shutting down the desalination plants in a fire incident in capital in Male’, the Indian Government has pressed into service as much as five Indian Air Force transport aircraft and one Naval vessel carrying a large consignment of potable water to meet the immediate requirement of the people in Male’.
Out of five aircraft, the first aircraft to reach Male’ was an IL-76 carrying 22 tonnes of potable water. One C-17 Globemaster III carrying 28 tonnes has also reached Male this afternoon. Another C-17 Globemaster III carrying 50 tonnes of water will be reaching Male’ this evening. Two more IL-76 transport aircraft of IAF are scheduled to leave New Delhi tonight.
The Indian Navy has dispatched INS Sukanya to Male’ and it is expected to arrive Male’ later this evening.
INS Sukanya 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.
INS Sukanya, an offshore patrol vessel, was on a routine patrol off Kochi. She was diverted to reach Male at the earliest to render necessary assistance and all the possible help to Maldivian authorities.
Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has no natural water source and consumes only treated sea water.
The Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Shri Syed Akbaruddin told media persons in a media briefing in New Delhi today about Indian assistance being provided currently to Maldives. In Maldives there was a fire at the sole desalination plant last evening following which there is a major crisis in terms of availability of water in Male. India understands that this will take quite some time, about a week, to resolve the situation. Therefore, Maldivian government, last night contacted the Indian Government. The External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj did receive a call from her Maldivian counterpart late last night. She got clearances from the Prime Minister as well as other authorities in terms of ensuring that by this morning, at 07:30, the first Indian flight was air-borne to provide assistance to Maldives in terms of drinking water.
The Spokesperson said that we intend to have five flights today for the purpose. The first one was an IL 76. Total of five flights will carry 200 tonnes of drinking water today. He said, the first flight has arrived and the second may also be reaching shortly; and we will have three more flights scheduled for the day. Similarly, we will have another five flights tomorrow. So, there will be ten flights of drinking water to be carried. We’ve also made arrangements for two ships to move to Maldives. The INS Sukanya, which was in Colombo, has set sail for Maldives and it would be reaching there late tonight. It has two reverse osmosis plants which can, in a day, function for about 200 tonnes of water. Also, we’ve requested another Indian ship that is INS Deepak which will leave tomorrow and will reach Male day after tomorrow. That way, India has mounted an enormous effort in our assistance to provide a member of the SAARC and a close partner of India in its hour of need.