Period: 10 -- 24th June 2005
Prepared by UN Country Team, Male', Maldives
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on Monday 20th June called for the intensification of marketing in order to overcome the decline in tourists to Maldives. Pointing out that the tsunami of December 26 had dealt a severe blow to the tourism industry of the country, with total arrivals since January 50% less than the numbers for the same period last year. Present occupancy rates are at 45%, the result of both the low season and the Indian Ocean tsunami. He also noted that the government had taken measures to provide relief to the tourism industry following losses caused by the tsunami.
The Tsunami displaced the whole community of the island of Kolhufushi in this atoll that had a total population of 1789. Today over 90% of people from Kolhufushi are IDPs on Ungoofaaru, most of them living in temporary housing units. At the request of the Atoll Chief, a Training of Facilitators was conducted in Raa Atoll between 21- 29 of May, enabling IDP committees in Raa atoll to be established in Hulhudhuffaaru, Alifushi, Meedhoo, Maduvaree and Ungoofaaru. OCHA, MIDP, UNFPA and IFRC came back to follow up as to progress achieved with the facilitators and the community leaders, during a visit to Ungoofaaru on 22-23rd June. Issues were that were being faced by the IDPs were summerised, discussed and solutions suggested. This good work will continue, whilst the team moves on to establish new teams to be trained in the next atolls of Laamu and Meemu.
UNDP has completed reconstruction of all damaged and destroyed houses on the island of Naalafushi Island, Meemu Atoll. The island was officially handed back to the community on 12th June during a big ceremony. The work was completed in collaboration with the Banyan Tree Resort and local population. A total of 74 houses were repaired and 3 houses completely reconstructed. This is the first island in the country where reconstruction has been completed after the devastation caused by the December tsunami.
Repair and reconstruction of damaged houses has also begun on the island of Dhonfanu in Baa Atoll as well as the construction of temporary shelters for nine families in Kaafu Guraidhoo in Male' Atoll. Contracts are being established for the repair and reconstruction of more than 1300 homes on 20 other islands.
The reconstruction of the damaged Eydhafushi Island harbour is now more than 50 % complete. Meanwhile, a joint team from the UN and the Government of Maldives has conducted detailed surveys for rehabilitation of infrastructure on six other islands while design and tendering contracts for an additional 18 islands are completed.
4. Disaster Management
A Disaster Management Training Needs Assessment report is being finalized, whilst contacts have been established with premier Disaster Management Training Institutes in order to undertake training courses specifically tailored to the needs of Maldives. An assessment of the Early Warning Systems (EWS) and Disaster Risk Profile (DRP) of the country is currently being undertaken by the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre, Japan and Risk Management Solutions, India respectively. The draft report of the EWS assessment will be available by early July.
A 10 member delegation of Maldives Government officials visited India and Bangladesh to study the disaster management policy and institutional frameworks. During a meeting on 23rd June, they shared their experiences and illustrated their follow up action plan Disaster Management in the Maldives.
Agreements have been prepared for disbursement of grants and micro-finance for restoration of livelihoods in fisheries and agriculture, through existing Atoll Development Funds. Tendering has also started for capacity building of community based organizations and for replacement of assets for income generation by women on 18 islands.
6. Aid Co-ordination
Pilot installation of the Development Assistance Database has been successfully completed for internal use/testing, in the Ministry of Finance, with a view to being operational by mid-August 2005.
WFP continues to liaise with the Government on the next phase of food distribution, from the period June - December 2005. The planning figure for the June distribution cycle under the Vulnerable Group Feeding Programme is 25,000 beneficiaries (who include selected IDPs, host communities and affected livelihood groups) identified by WFP and the Government.
8. Reproductive Health
On 14th June UNFPA, with representatives from various other sectors, undertook an assessment mission to Meemu Kolhufushi, Muli and Dhiggaru. The team made a number of observations and recommendations such as the need for a more proactive approach to health education programmes, and the need to follow up on procurement of equipment to Muli Hospital.
UNFPA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and WHO is currently conducting a training of health service workers (on mental health, psychosocial issues, reproductive health, substance abuse and protection issues) in tsunami affected islands of Meemu, Dhaalu, Faafu, Thaa and Laamu.
A UNV gynecologist has been placed at Muli Regional Hospital and will provide reproductive health and family planning services focusing particularly on outreach services and the training of health service providers.
9. Water and Environmental Sanitation
Several WES Coordination meetings were convened with all key agencies. Main outcomes of the meetings were to 1) Establish mechanisms for routine sharing of project information and best practices among donor agencies and the Government and; 2) Develop minimum standards for technical service quality and a monitoring framework with progress mapping facility.
UNDP has installed 73 household water collection and storage tanks on Dhonfanu Island, just in time to enable the community to harvest rain water during the ensuing rainy season.
UNICEF provided 728 HDPE, 5000 litre rain water harvesting tanks on 12 islands to IDP sites identified by Emergency Housing Unit of the National Disaster Management Centre. The Government/community will complete the installations according to revised minimum technical guidelines and standards.
10. Early Childhood
The transformation of preschools to child development centres introducing play-based methods continues. A total of 22 preschools and some 1,350 children have been reached, thus far.
A meeting with the Minister of Education on 16th June addressed the need for reform of the education budgetary policy to include Pre-School education in the State Budget. Education Trust Fund resources will be earmarked for pre-school education services in the 2006 annual budget, marking an important precedent for future increased funding by the Government.
A training-of-trainers (TOT) programme for teachers of Jamaaludheen School in early June. In parallel, a training module on Child Friendly Schools for teachers of children Grades 1-3 is being developed and tested during the TOT. The training module is expected to be included in the national curriculum for new teachers as well as for in-service refresher trainings.
The project document for the Repair and Reconstruction of tsunami affected schools is being developed by UNOPS for tendering for the reconstruction in 5 atolls -- 2 atolls from the North and 3 from the South. A survey trip to the Northern part of the country is currently underway and should lead to a tender bidding package by the end of June.
12. Agriculture and Fisheries
The full consignment of vegetable and fruit seeds procured - three shipments totaling 150 kg has been delivered in Male and handover and distribution await inspection results.
Damage assessment of 117 engines in the 19 affected atolls completed and the tender responses of fishing gear have arrived.
United Nations Maldives Disaster Relief Taskforce: http://188.8.131.52
Maldives National Disaster Management Centre: http://www.tsunamimaldives.mv
Field office contact
Aishath Jeelaan, Communications Officer,
UN Resident Coordinator System,
Tel: (960) 324501, mob: (960) 787 987; email: email@example.com