Male, Dec 8: Restoration of water supply in Maldives will cost $20 million, an official said on Sunday, as authorities scrambled to provide water to over 130,000 people in the country.
Water services in the capital Male were shut down on Thursday after a crippling fire damaged crucial components of the island's sole desalination facility, the Male Water and Sewerages Company (MWSC), leaving thousands of people without water for bathing, cleaning, and cooking.
Maldives has no natural water source and consumes only treated sea water.
"We will need to import equipment to complete the repair and we expect the costs to be around $20 million," Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim who heads the task force dealing with the crisis said, according to a Xinhua report.
He insisted that repairs carried out at the MWSC had shown progress with sporadic water being produced and distributed to some parts of the capital, but admitted that the damage was more extensive than initially expected.
Authorities fear that the damage to the plant could take between three days and a week to be fully repaired.
Large numbers of homes, hotels, shops and restaurants were without water
Large numbers of homes, hotels, shops and restaurants were either still without water, or had access only at the ground level resulting in long queues forming at water distribution centres.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Saturday, cut short a personal trip to Malaysia, where his son is reported to be receiving medical treatment, to deal with the crisis.
Fresh supplies of water continue to arrive from abroad, most notably from India and China, with distribution being carried out by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) with the assistance of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) alongside numerous private entities.
The Maldives government has set up water distribution centres at schools and other public spaces, with each person allowed two 1.5-litre bottles.