Torrential rain, thunderstorms, and rough seas have been wreaking havoc across the Maldives with the onset of the south-west monsoon.
On Wednesday night, a tornado struck the southernmost atoll, damaging 12 homes in the Hithadhoo ward of Addu City. The roofs were blown off nine homes and two trees fell on the roofs of three houses when the tornado hit around 10:30 pm, according to the Maldives National Defence Force.
Some roads were also blocked by fallen trees. Soldiers from the MNDF’s southern area command are working with the city council to help repair the damaged houses and clear up roads.
“The residents who need temporary housing have been provided assistance and efforts are being undertaken to help repair damaged homes,” Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodiq told the Maldives Independent, adding that the weather is fine today.
A delegation from President Abdulla Yameen led by Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar is due to arrive Thursday afternoon to review the damage and coordinate relief efforts.
Fathmath Thasneem, head of the National Disaster Management Centre, told state media that the authorities are hoping to quickly replace the roofs so that the displaced families could return before the start of Ramadan.
Flooding caused by heavy rainfall meanwhile damaged several homes in the southern atolls of Thaa, Gaafu Dhaal, and Fuvahmulah.
Sofeenaz Hassan, director general of the NDMC, said the authorities are gathering information from across the country and working with the Addu city council to repair the damage left in the wake of the tornado.
“Nadella in Gaafu Dhaal atoll reported the worst flooding,” she said.
Faisal Najeeb, a Nadella island council member, said flood waters seeped into 80 homes after heavy rainfall from 3 pm on Wednesday to 4 am on Thursday morning.
“After we were unable to control flood waters with two pumps provided by NMDC, we requested help from MNDF, who arrived around 9 pm last night,” he said.
He added that “the flood has been somewhat controlled with the help of one more pump and by digging a drain trench.”
Gdh. Nadellaa ge Maguthakun Fen Hikkumuge Masakkathugai MNDF SA ge Sifain Harakaaiytherivanee pic.twitter.com/I2uLKuDMAY
— MNDF (@MNDF_Official) May 18, 2017
A fishing boat meanwhile capsized this morning en route from Malé to the island of Omadhoo in Alif Dhaal atoll. The 60-feet-long boat went under 10 nautical miles west of the Rannaalhi resort in Kaafu atoll, according to the MNDF.
The 10 Maldivian crewmembers were rescued at sea by a speedboat sent by the boat’s owner and brought to Omadhoo.
According to a white alert issued Thursday morning by the Maldives Meteorological Services, heavy rain and thunderstorms with gust winds of 45 miles per hour are expected in central and northern atolls between 1 pm and 6 pm today.
The met department also warned that tornados could strike in other parts of the country. Flooding and swells are also likely in some islands and seas are expected to be rough in the north and central atolls.
The south-west monsoon or the wet season traditionally arrives in mid-May with three or more days of rainfall along with a change in wind direction.
Photos from Raajje.mv