Maldives

Maldives: Coastal flooding OCHA Situation Report No. 2

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This situation report is based on information received from the Maldives' National Disaster Management Center, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, as well as from the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and Pacific in Bangkok.

SITUATION

1. On 15-17 May 2007, a series of swells, between 10 - 15 feet, hit an estimated 35 islands in 13 Atolls across the Maldives, causing the inundation of up to 600 metres from the coastline. The southern atolls of the Maldives were the most affected, in particular Seenu and Gaafu Dhaalu. These high tides occur annually, but not to this magnitude.

2. There were no human fatalities from the coastal flooding. 1649 people were evacuated from their homes.

3. On 19 May 2007, a Rapid Assessment Team, comprised of Government of Maldives personnel, IFRC and UN counterparts, was deployed to conduct a rapid assessment of five high tide affected islands of Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll: Fares-Maathodaa, Fiyoare, Rathafandhoo, Nadellaa, and Madaveli. The assessment found:

a. Water-sanitation: There is an urgent need for clean drinking water and household water (community tanks need refilling - due to dry season prior to the high tide). Ground tests indicated contamination.

Action recommended by the assessment mission: Urgent need for drinking water. A detailed assessment is urgently required on fresh water wells.

b. Housing: 217 housing units were damaged and 258 were otherwise flood affected.

Recommended action: Further assessments are needed on the long-term impact of flooding on the coral based houses, where there are indications that weakened foundations will require repair/reconstruction.

Recommended action: Provision of mattresses and bedding

c. Livelihood: Need for recovery intervention in local gardens, small plantations, hay harvesting and other livelihoods such as fish processing. There will also be a long-term impact from saltwater permeation damaging crops and trees.

Recommended action: Further detailed assessments on livelihood impacts needed.

d. Education: Some schools were flood damaged with irreparably damaged furniture.

Recommended action: School-based psychosocial support activities are required

e. Infrastructure: Minor damage to harbours and quay walls on the west-side of the islands. Basic services, including electricity, water and sewerage systems were affected by the inundation of seawater.

f. Health: No damage to health facilities or health services.

g. Environment: Substantial coastal erosion and saltwater inland flooding. Ground water assessments show signs of contaminated fresh water on all five affected main islands.

II. NATIONAL RESPONSE

4. NTR

III. INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE

5. NTR

Map: Maldives: Floods - Location Map

For detailed information please contact:

OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok)
Mr. Rajan Gengaje, Regional Disaster Response Adviser
Tel. + 66-2288-2572, Fax: +66-2288-1043, Mob. + 66-8-1916-1271
e-mail: gengaje@un.org

Desk Officers:
(NY) Mr. Wojtek Wilk, Tel. +1-917 367 9748, e-mail: wilkw@un.org
(GVA) Mr. Guadelupe deSousa, Tel. +41-22-917 4339

Press contact:
(NY) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Tel. +1-917 367 5126
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Tel. +41-22-917 2653

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.