Maldives Tsunami Relief Project

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Project Brief

The December 2004 Asian Tsunami that struck coastal areas on both sides of the Indian Ocean was probably one of the largest global disasters the world has ever witnessed. An estimate of 230,000 persons were killed in this disaster, and state of emergency were declared in Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

In the aftermath of the disaster, CRS provided relief to the tsunami victims in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. For Maldives, CRS purchase and packed about 1000 kitchenware packages in Singapore and shipped them to over 30 Maldivian islands. The package included gas cooking stoves, utensils and cooking ware.

Reports from the field:

Summary Report
Maldives Tsunami Project Closure
Relief Trip 1
Packing of Relief Supplies
Fact Finding Trip
Tsunami Relief in Maldives
Tsunami Relief in South Asia

Summary Report


Report of Summary of Maldives Tsunami Project – 9th September 2005

CRS provided relief to the tsunami victims in the Maldives and Sri Lanka (Batticaloa and Galle).

For the Maldives, CRS packed and shipped about 1000 kitchenware packages to over 30 islands. The package included gas cooking stoves, utensils and cooking ware.

Hygiene pack and clothing were also shipped at the early phase of the relief. 2 teams were sent to oversee the custom clearance and distribution of the relief supplies.

A public health specialist went under CRS banner to present a Community Development Education seminar to key government officials and community leaders.

The Community Development phase of the project has been passed on to another Singapore-based community development charitable organization.


Maldives Tsunami Project Closure


Report of Maldives Tsunami Project Closure – 25th May 2005

CRS sent a total of 4 teams to the Maldives, giving gas stoves and kitchen basics to approx 1,000 households on over 30 islands to re-start home/family cooking!

In March a team of six went and did distribution on 2 islands, to approximately 450 families. CRS also did needs assessment on another atoll. The Government of the Republic of Maldives is transitioning from Relief to Redevelopment and initiated discussion on Community Development. In particular National Disaster Management Centre is looking to develop social cohesion between the local residents on islands with relocated IDP’s – arrivals from other islands that were damaged by tsunami.

In April, a small team of only 3 went, Dr Annelies Wilder Smith of Tan Tock Seng’s Travelers Clinic and Associate Professor of Public Health presented a Community Development Education seminar to a group of 20 Maldivians including 2 Cabinet Ministers, Heads of Department of various government ministries, leaders from NGOs such as UNFPA, WHO and Maldivian NGO’s plus business and community leaders.

Also Florence Chiang, an Occupational Therapist did some consulting and training at a number of facilities in the islands.
The post tsunami work in the Maldives is in transition as we prepare proposals and seek new partners for this next, longer term phase for Community Development Education.

We wish to thank all donors, volunteers here and team members to Maldives, along with their organizations that have made this relief project a success.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a delegation to Maldives in April and they informed us that they were pleased to hear from the Maldives Chief Coordinator, National Disaster Management Centre that CRS, a small Singapore group had done a good work and “our nation proud”.


Relief Trip 1


Report of Relief Trip 1 of Maldives Tsunami Project – 28th March 2005

By Iris Siew

First shipment to the Maldives – Distribution in Guraidhoo Island, South Malé Atoll – considered among the “worst damaged” island by the UN and Maldivian Government. CRS team did an initial survey in early January.

Date: 14 to 21 February 2005

Team members:
Lim Eng Hoe, Team leader
James Teo
Leslie Chiang
Iris Siew


1) Deliver and distribute relief family packs consisting of:
• Double-burner gas cooker
• Kitchenware such as knives, ladles, scoops, cups, tumblers, jugs, bowls, plates and aluminum pots
• Toothbrush and toothpaste for adults and children
2) Conduct needs assessment at other affected locations
3) Maintain good working relations with the Maldivian National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC)

Guraidhoo in January
Guraidhoo in January
Guraidhoo in January
Kitchen in Ruins
Living Conditions
Temporary Housing
Rebuilding Homes
Arrival of Relief Items
Our first shipment of cookers and kitchenware for the 200 households on Guraidhoo island was consigned to the Maldivian National Disaster Management Centre. It left Singapore just before the Chinese New Year holidays and took about 7 days to arrive at Malé, the capital of the Maldives.

A team of 6 CRS volunteers flew to the Maldives in mid-February to ensure the cargo is delivered and distributed to the tsunami-affected people of Guraidhoo.

CRS considers it a privilege to be allowed to work so closely with the NDMC. The customs clearance was smooth, tax exemption is hassle-free and transporting the goods to the island was expedited for our team to be present during distribution on the island. Our Deepest Appreciation to the NDMC, Ministry of Defence and National Security, and Maldivian National Shipping Ltd for waiver of most freight charges!

In Guraidhoo, the Island and Atoll Chiefs and their highly capable staff did an excellent job of safekeeping the cargo until the day of distribution. They also did very well in the preparation and allocation of the relief supplies. A record of each of the 200 tsunami-affected households was given to us to account for the items. Each household was allocated relief items based on their family size; hence, the supplies were evenly and fairly distributed to every household.

Some of the items distributed in Guraidhoo
The vessels with our goods
Landing craft at Guraidhoo
Meeting at Malé Atoll Guraidhoo Office
Forming collection station for cooking pots
Crowds queues outside office
Distribution Begins…
Distribution on 21 February was very well managed and coordinated by the Malé Atoll Guraidhoo Office staff. Stations were formed for each item in the courtyard of the Guraidhoo office. Each household was given a ration card, listing the quantity of each relief item to be received.

The distribution started about 1pm. A large crowd turned up and took shelter from the hot sun under some trees. They came with their family members and wheelbarrows to collect the goods. A queue number was given to each household who patiently waited for their turn to go round each station to receive the items from the administration staff. The distribution was orderly and successful!

Children waiting for their collection
Ration card
Guraidhoo officials distribute according to ration card
Team member, Eng Hoe
James & Iris

Task Complete!

Packing of Relief Supplies

Report on Packing of Relief Supplies for Maldives Tsunami Project – 25th February 2005

One sunny afternoon, a group of CRS volunteers mainly comprises of young people came to HighPoint Social Enterprise Ark to pack the second lot of kitchenware for Maldives. The items were meant for 2 of the most affected islands.

Everyone automatically split up to perform various tasks; such as cutting and tearing open the boxes of kitchenware like bowls, plates and pots, and assembling of carton boxes for each household. An assembly line was quickly formed to do the assembly.

Plates, bowls, knife, ladle were put into the pot and stuffed with towels or cloth to prevent shaking and then placed into the carton boxes and labeled. During the process, shower came to break the very hot spell of the last few days to cool down the place which is wonderful.

By late afternoon, 250 packs of kitchenware were neatly stacked. CRS also have donations of clothing and sandals by well wishers. These were sorted out and packed neatly in boxes, properly labeled and all ready for shipment.

Shipment of First Lot of Relief Supplies
Our first shipment of kitchenware for 200 households was shipped from Singapore just before the Chinese New Year. The shipment consisted of hygiene packs, double gas stoves, pots, plates, bowls, cups, knife, turners and ladles.

A team of 6 left for Maldives on 11 and 14 February 2005 respectively to receive the cargo. They facilitated the clearance and distribution of the relief supplies. These relief supplies were meant for the Guriadhoo island which is located in South Male Atoll, 1 hour fast boat ride from Male. They also met with Government Officials to discuss other areas of assistance such as trauma counseling training, doctors and teachers. The team visited some other affected islands to assess their needs as well.

The second lot of the relief supplies will be shipped out from Singapore around the last week of February 2005. They are for 2 islands; Naalafushi and Kolhlafushi which are 3 hours by fast boat from Male. A second team will be sent in early Mar to receive the cargo and oversee the distribution to these 2 islands.

A big thank you to all CRS volunteers who came to pack for the Maldives Project and also our well wishers who have donated the clothing and sandals.


Fact Finding Trip


Report of Fact Finding Trip of Maldives Tsunami Project – 16th January 2005

Maldives has never had a natural disaster on this scale. The tsunami left 82 dead and 26 missing. 1/3 of the population was affected. 200 islands were affected, 9 of them totally devastated. More than 13,000 (close to 5%) of the country’s 278 000 population are now homeless or internally displaced, and many islands remain uninhabitable due to the widespread destruction. About 25% of the resort islands were also destroyed or damaged, for those that remained or re-opened, there has been massive cancellation of reservations and so resorts have no choice but to reduce staff.

Travel and tourism represent 74.1% of the GDP of the country. The country’s low death toll understates the scale of the disaster which seriously affected a third of it’s population and damaged half the nations infrastructure consisting of jetties, sea walls, public facilities like generators, desalination plants, telecommunications and buildings like schools, government offices, clinics and regional hospitals.

The tsunami had a large impact on the economy of this small and widely dispersed island country. Maldivian officials worry that because of the country’s small size and scant international media attention, the international community will overlook their need for disaster and reconstruction aid.

The giant tidal waves completely washed over many of her low lying inhabited islands destroying houses, water supplies, agriculture and food supplies, and washing away or destroying personal belongings right down to cash savings and electrical appliances.
Summary of the trip

This was a productive trip. On our flight to Male, the capital, through Mr Khaleel (Director, Maldivian Government Trade Office, Singapore), we met President Gayoom, Minister of Finance & Treasury, Mr. Jaleel and the Minister of Foreign Affairs who were returning from the Jakarta Tsunami Summit and were on the same flight. We were asked to meet the nation’s Disaster Task Force that same afternoon.

We visited the National Disaster Centre and met with the Minister of Defense and National Security (the ministry coordinating the disaster efforts). They presented some of the needs of the people. (see notes end of this)

Over the next 2 days, we visited 4 islands that were reported as “worst hit”, 2 in South Male Atoll (1 hour by fast boat from Male) and 2 in Meemu Atoll (3 hours by fast boat from Male). Most of the houses on these islands were either totally destroyed or seriously damaged. On Kohlufushi, 100% of the local population are now in boats or temporary shelters (tents) with a communal kitchen using firewood. Most of their household items and belongings, including cash savings were either swept away or damaged beyond repair.

Wells are now contaminated with debris and dead sea animals. Rain water collection tanks were knocked over or contaminated. Most of the vegetation, fruit trees and vegetable gardens are dying with the exception of coconut trees because of the salt water that soaked through the sandy soil.

Food parcels and potable water have been distributed to the islands by the Government. But it is a struggle to cook food or boil water without proper stoves and fuel.

We visited one regional hospital for an atoll, and saw that all electrical medical equipment were damaged by salt water. The needs for the people on the 4 islands are almost identical; rebuilding of homes, water systems and restoring lives to normal with aid like kitchen essentials, bed linen and furniture.

Bandos Resort graciously hosted us in their resort. Mr WM Deen, the MD of the resort arranged our schedule and sponsored most of our transportation for our entire stay. (see notes at end) We were pleased to hear that Singapore owned resorts helped out from the beginning. Some provided cooked food for the first few days, then clothing, bedsheets and small machinery to clear debris.

Now various resorts are undertaking rebuilding and or repairs to houses on other non-resort islands. Mr Azeez Hakeem from the Banyan Tree contacted us. With UNDP funding, they have taken on rebuilding or repairing homes on the small island of Naalaafushi in the Meemu Atoll (same atoll and very near to the ones we visited). They have requested that we consider furnishing kitchen essentials for this island, upon completion of their work.

Preliminary Proposal for CRS engagement in Maldives

Tsunami Relief in Maldives


Tsunami Relief in Maldives – 9th January 2005

In his speech at the Special ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting following the aftermath of the Earthquake and Tsunami, the President of Maldives, His Excellency Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, appealed for urgent assistance for reconstruction and recovery. He said that the tsunami had, within a matter of minutes, destroyed much of the infrastructure built over two decades of development in the Maldives.

He noted that the Government’s priorities were to rehabilitate the lives and livelihoods of tsunami victims, provide shelter to internally displaced persons, reconstruct and repair social and economic infrastructure, and generate economic recovery to pre-tsunami levels.

Safe water supply must be further improved. Sanitation infrastructure is disjointed, particularly in the area of disposal of sewage and disinfection of living spaces contaminated by waste. No outbreaks reported. From December 26 until January 8, the following cumulative number of cases was officially reported as follows: D iarrh o ea (469), V iral F ever (395), Acute Respiratory Infections (130).

For further information please visit the official website of the National Disaster Management Centre in Maldives

Tsunami Relief in South Asia

Earthquake 26th Dec 2004
(courtesy of Reuters)

Tsunami Relief in South Asia – 1st January 2005

The world’s most powerful earthquake in 40 years struck deep under the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra on Dec 26, 2004. Eight south asian countries were affected by tsunamis that ensued leaving over 120000 dead and millions without food, drinking water or shelter.

This series of unfortunate events in South Asia have sparked off a crisis of unimaginable proportions. As the death toll mounts, vast amounts of money and relief from aid agencies around the world are pouring into the affected countries.

Crisis Relief Society Singapore has identified 2 of the countries which we can help: Maldives and Sri Lanka. We are partnering our contacts and mobilising our supporters to help with recce trips and possible future relief trips to these 2 countries.

The Maldives Recce Team will leave on 5 Jan 2005. The team members are Pat Loh, Christina Phung, Mr Michael Lim and Dr Chuah Suan Wah.

We will organize a CRS meeting when they return to update us on their findings and coordinate our relief efforts. Please look out for details in your e-mail or check our website for updates.