The government has announced plans to distribute MVR2.6 million (US$168,600) to help families displaced by the April 18 fire at the Coastline Hardware store rebuild their homes.
The massive fire completely destroyed the two-storey store on the capital’s main thoroughfare and spread to three surrounding buildings. It caused extensive damages and left several apartments uninhabitable.
“The government decided to provide [compensation for] 40 percent of the damages…In addition to this, MVR1 million (US$64,800) from Coastline will be distributed proportionately,” Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar said at a press conference Wednesday at the coastguard building.
The money will be handed over next Friday, he said.
The National Disaster Management Centre had arranged temporary accommodation at guesthouses in Malé for some 72 people displaced by the fire.
These included families who either lost their homes or were unable to return due to ongoing cleaning work as well as residents of the neighbourhood who were affected by smoke.
Of the 47 people still staying at guesthouses, Shareef said 35 will move back to their homes within two days.
The authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire.
The fire was brought under control after nearly four hours with a foam fire engine from the state-owned Maldives Airports Company Ltd transported from Hulhulé to Malé.
According to the police, no injuries were reported. But several people were reportedly treated for smoke inhalation.
The owner of the Coastline store told local media that the shop was insured. The extent of the damages has not been assessed yet. It was stocked with hardware goods and construction material, he said.
The Coastline business has offered MVR1 million to displaced families.
The authorities are meanwhile yet to conclude an investigation into a massive fire at a Lily Store warehouse in March last year. A number of families were forced out of their homes.
Several fire incidents in the capital since then have caused millions in damages.
The Coastline fire sparked debate on social media about congestion in the densely populated capital, the absence of a legally binding building safety code and the readiness of the authorities to handle large-scale disasters.
Malé, an island of two square miles, is home to more than 150,000 residents or 38 percent of the Maldivian population.