Thursday, January 06, 2005

79 islands without safe drinking water

The government of the Maldives says 79 islands are without safe drinking water. The government has also told Reuters that 14 islands have been evacuated, 26 islands are without electricity, 24 islands have no telephones and four islands have no communication facilities at all after the tsunami ravaged the country.

The government on Wednesday raised the official death toll across the chain of 1,200 islands to 82, with 26 people still unaccounted for.

Shaheed said of 199 inhabited islands, 53 had suffered severe damage to buildings while infrastructure on about 20 had been "totally destroyed."

"The tsunami had within a few minutes set the country back by at least two decades as far as socioeconomic development is concerned," he said.

A conservative estimate of $1.3 billion for infrastructure repairs is still twice the country's annual gross domestic product (GDP).



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