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Bad weather causes damages in 14 islands

A cyclone hit Nilandhoo in Faafu atoll Thursday afternoon and blew the roofs off 10 houses after heavy rainfall caused damages on Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal atoll the previous day.



Torrential rain and strong winds caused damages in 14 islands as a bout of bad weather continues to wreak havoc across the Maldives.

Fathmath Thasneem, head of the National Disaster Management Centre, told the press Thursday that the worst affected islands during the past 24 hours were Nilandhoo in the south-central Faafu atoll and Thinadhoo in the southern Gaafu Dhaal atoll.

A cyclone hit Nilandhoo on Thursday afternoon, blowing the roofs off 10 houses and displacing several families. On the previous night, heavy rainfall and strong winds uprooted trees and blew the roofs off four houses on Thinadhoo.

Soldiers from the military’s southern area command helped clear fallen trees that were blocking roads.

“Storing foodstuff on the islands is one of the most important measures at the moment. It is likely that food shortages could occur on islands if we face a situation where travel is not possible,” Thasneem advised.

She noted that shortages have occurred in the past during prolonged periods of rough weather.

Noting that the usual rainfall with the onset of the south-west monsoon in mid-May is lasting longer than expected, Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar also advised islands to maintain food stores and to communicate shortages of staple foodstuff.

“We are very closely monitoring weather-related incidents in the Maldives 24/7,” he said.

The Maldives Meteorology Service issued a yellow alert for northern and central atolls Thursday morning, advising against sea travel for four hours and warning of torrential rain, squally showers, and gusts of 55 miles per hour.

Colonel Mohamed Ibrahim, commander of the coastguard, said some boats were taking off despite yellow alerts without functioning pumps. Unlike previous periods of monsoon rains, the colonel warned that winds are strong enough to topple boats.

On Thursday morning, a supply boat en route to the Ranveli resort capsized near the Fihaalhohi Resort in Malé atoll. The five crew members were rescued at sea by a speedboat from the Dhagethi island in Alif Dhaal atoll.

According to the coastguard, the five were wearing life-jackets and survived unharmed.

Flooding caused by heavy downpours meanwhile damaged farm fields on the northern islands of Uligamu in Haa Alif atoll and Vaikaradhoo in Haa Dhaal atoll.

The prices of fruits and vegetables at the busy local market in Malé have soared in the first week of Ramadan due to reduced supply from farming islands affected by the bad weather. Demand for local produce such as watermelons is high during the fasting month.

According to the met office, wind speeds in the capital reached 55 miles per hour Thursday morning. Some roads were inundated with water and branches fell off trees planted by the roadside.

The current bout of bad weather started on May 17.

Thasneem said 25 homes were damaged when a tornado struck the Hithadhoo ward of Addu City in the southernmost atoll. The roofs were blown off 12 houses, which were repaired by the NDMC with help from the military and state-owned companies.

Some 80 homes were also affected by flooding in the southern island of Nadella in Gaaf Alif atoll.