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  Tsunami in Maldives report by Everest Summiter Swee Chiow


Everest summiter Swee Chiow just came back from Maldives after helping with the relief work there...

Copyright © Khoo Swee Chiow

Swee's report: A Maldivian called my friend Alfred the day after the waves struck. He asked for help. So we went. He took us to Guraidhoo island (31km from Male, the capitol of Maldives). Guraidhoo has 3 deaths, 2 missing and 720 homeless. Walking thru the village, it is like a war zone. It is awfully quiet, a deadly silence after the storm. Sadness filled the air. Folks staring blankly at their homes that are no more. A lifetime of hard work only to be destroyed in minutes by Mother Nature. Given the large number of homeless, it is a miracle that Guraidhoo has a low death toll.

Though Guraidhoo is only 45 minutes by boat from the capitol, it is still experiencing a shortage of water and food. The affected islands in more remote areas will be much worse off.

As of 1 Jan, Maldives has 76 deaths, 32 missing and 13,000 homeless. Though these numbers seem small compared to Indonesia and Sri Lanka, we decided to help, simply because they asked.

Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands on 19 atolls lying in a north-south direction spanning 868km. It is this vast area that makes any relief work difficult. Some islands are 1-2 days' boat ride away from the capitol. Some sea planes have been damaged. 199 islands are inhabited of which about half have reported damages of varying severity. 13 islands have evacuated its people to other islands. Unlike India and Sri Lanka, the Maldivians have no high ground to run from the tsunami. It is a nation with its highest point no more than 6 feet above sea level. Out of 87 resorts, 19 are reported closed due to damages from the disaster. There are about 17,000 tourists in Maldives.

I made the trip with Alfred Lye from IMC(S) (Institute of Management Consultants (Singapore) ). The relief work has just begun. IMC will be helping to organize water, food and whatever is needed.

Please help the people of Maldives. For more info, please contact +65-63721728 or secretariat@imcsingapore.com

Or Donation could be sent to the Singapore Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org.sg/

 

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