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Quick fix promised for broken Fulidhoo jetty

Islanders fear they would be left without means of transport as ferry operators warned of suspension.



The infrastructure ministry has promised a quick fix after stormy weather damaged the jetty of Fulidhoo in the central Vaavu atoll, restricting access to the small island.

“There is a contract to build a new jetty. We are discussing with the contractor to repair the damage before that. I will have a proposal by them within an hour,” state minister Akram Kamalludeen told the Maldives Independent on Tuesday.

The island community feared they would be left without means of transport as ferry operators warned of suspension.

Parts of the wooden pier fell off after strong winds on Monday and metal beams were dangerously jutting out, Fulidhoo council president Sana Abdul Wafir told the Maldives independent.

“Ferries and boats are now telling us they will stop their trips because they can’t dock here safely,” she said.

“It’s not at all safe to use it anymore. Someone can get injured badly and boats might get into an accident…We are discussing with the islanders now to fix it temporarily and we have written to the president’s office and the housing ministry.”

Fulidhoo’s small population of 372 use daily ferries to bring essential commodities to the island and to travel to the capital for medical treatment and other purposes. 

“We have a health center here and people can’t get proper treatment if they get sick. People have to travel to Felidhoo or Malé so with the ferries suspended it’s going to be a very difficult for us,” said Sana, the council member.

“We also have a growing local tourism industry here, so guest transfers are also an issue. It damages the Fulidhoo brand very much.”

Guesthouse businesses in Vaavu atoll have been flouring in recent years. Fulidhoo lies about 56 kilometres south of the capital Malé.

An MVR4.9 million (US$317,800) project to build a new jetty was reportedly awarded to a company called Ina Trading shortly before the presidential election on September 23.

While the contractor promised to complete the project within six months, Sana said work has yet to begin.

As the broken jetty was built on the side of the island that faces storm surges, Fulidhoo islanders have been asking for a new jetty for years, she added.

The jetty was temporarily fixed for a visit by former president Abdulla Yameen ahead of the May 2017 local council elections.

A new jetty was pledged during a campaign visit by the former finance minister five days before the polls, after which a project was awarded to a company called Vilukolhu Maldives. But the contract was later cancelled.