Food shortage in Makunudhoo amid bad weather

Food shortage in Makunudhoo amid bad weather
September 21 14:03 2015

Makunudhoo, an isolated island in northern Maldives, is facing a food shortage amidst a prolonged bout of bad weather that has grounded food supply boats.

Makunudhoo though part of Haa Dhaal Atoll is located in a geographically separate atoll on the north west of the Maldives archipelago. One of the two boats used to transport food supplies is undergoing maintenance while the other is moored in Malé with 45 tonnes of staples due to bad weather.

Mohamed Shakeeb, the owner of the largest general store on Makunudhoo, said he has no rice or flour while the stock of sugar is dwindling.

“To be honest, we are barely surviving, my family has only eaten biscuits and bread in the past few days. During this difficult time, families who have food are sharing it with others,” he said.

Mohamed Shakir, the president of Makunudhoo Island Council, said he has requested the National Disaster Management Center (NDMC) to intervene. “We are expecting food supplies today.”

Rough seas and thunder storms has hampered travel this week. But the weather is calmer for the first time in days today.

Hisan Hassan, the NDMC spokesman, said it has sent 20 sacks of rice, flour and sugar from Haa Dhaal Kulhudhuffushi to Makunudhoo today. The only method of transporting food to isolated islands like Makunudhoo is via boats, he said.

Makunudhoo is the only island that has reported a food shortage, he said.

The NDMC has provided three families in Haa Alif Hoarafushi with temporary shelter after strong winds ripped off their roofs.

The coastguard rescued nearly 400 people stranded at sea this week.

Prolonged bouts of bad weather are unusual in the Maldives during September. Colombo based Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology (FECT) has predicted above average rainfall in the Maldives up to November, due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

A ferry carrying 181 passengers collided with a reef near Meemu Atoll Dhiggaru Island in central Maldives on Saturday night. The boat was traveling from Malé to Thaa Atoll. A second boat carrying 130 passengers, en route to northern Haa Alif Atoll from Malé, started to sink near Kaashidhoo Island, north of Malé atoll, on Saturday afternoon.

All passengers are safe and accounted for, the coastguard has said. It has cautioned travelers against rough seas.

On September 15, a private ferry carrying some 81 people sank in Malé atoll. There were no casualties.

The coastguard and police have begun checking boats to ensure they meet safety requirements.

This article was amended at 5pm to include an update from NDMC on the transfer of food staples to Makunudhoo.