Torrential rain and thunderstorms across the Maldives have caused heavy flooding in several islands over the past three days.
According to the National Disaster Management Centre, some 15 islands have reported damages from flooding to households and farms. Strong winds also uprooted trees and ripped off roofs in some islands.
The most extensive damages were reported from the island of Thimarafushi in the south-central Thaa atoll.
Adil Ibrahim, a Thaa atoll council member, reported flooding in other islands in the atoll. A tornado hit the island of Veymandoo around 10:30am on Wednesday whilst roads in Hirilandhoo, Kinbidhoo, and Thimarafushi are inundated with up to three feet of water.
“These islands have knee-deep floods. An uprooted breadfruit tree had fallen to a house in Veymandoo while walls had fallen down in another three houses,” he said.
Many household items and furniture were damaged when floodwaters seeped into homes, he added.
“A team from the [NDMC] is currently active in Thimarafushi. The police helped set up sandbags and plywood in homes as a barrier from the water, while the military has been pumping out water since today morning,” he said.
Hisaan Hassan, project officer at the NDMC, said flooding has been reported from islands in Alif Alif, Meemu, Thaa, Laamu, Gaaf Alif, Gaaf Dhaal, and Seenu atolls.
“So far we have not yet decided which islands our teams will be going to next, however, we sent a team to Thimarafushi because it is of the highest priority in terms of damage,” he said.
He stressed that the centre lacks capacity to send teams to every flooded island.
The highest rainfall was recorded in Thaa Veymandoo yesterday with 170 millimetres, followed by Laamu Kaddhoo (107 millimetres) and the airport island of Hulhulé (91 millimeters).
The strongest winds were recorded in the southern Addu City at 52 miles per hour.
The storm clouds have now passed northward over the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
“It is now at Bangladeshi waters near the east coast of India,” the met department said.
The storm has, however, grown stronger and developed into a cyclone – named ‘Raonu’ (meaning rope in Dhivehi) – and is expected to drift northwards.