Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thulusdhoo waits for aid

Since the tsunami hit the Maldives, Television Maldives (TVM), the only local TV station, has been sending live coverage of the event. It has shown numerous footage of the destruction in islands and interviewed several people affected by the tsunami.

It has come under criticism recently that the live coverage is only increasing the trauma and adversely affecting people. Those who have this opinion argue that the continuous relaying of images of destroyed houses and displaced people disturbs the people psychologically.

TVM has reduced the coverage to some extent now, perhaps because of the criticism.

I have not watched most of the live coverage by TVM and feel that I have missed a lot of footage and news about the event.

On Sunday night I was watching TVM to have some updates about the crisis. One of the features of the live coverage is calling government officials in islands, and asking them over phone, the situation of the islands.

While I was watching TVM, the presenter called Ahmed Firaq, the official in charge of the Island Office of Thulusdhoo. Firaq described the damage the tsunami caused to the island. He said that initially 15 families were forced to move out of their homes but now only 5 families were homeless.

Firaq also said the people were waiting for aid to come from Male'. The presenter, Shakeeb, asked if that was financial aid. Firaq replied that the people were waiting for any type of aid to come. He said the people were also complaining that TVM was not making enough inquiries about the status of their island.

Shakeeb admitted that there may be some islands that TVM has not been able to contact yet. They were doing their best.

He then called another island that TVM had not previously contacted: Makunudhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

Makunudhoo is an isolated island to the west of Haa Dhaalu Atoll and it forms a natural atoll. Because of the isolation of the island, it was traditionally used to banish political prisoners. It is located on the western rim of Maldives.

Luckily Makunudhoo was not affected by the tsunami. The official from the island said that they also saw the tide rising up but the swell did not flood the island. The people of Makunudhoo then helped the neighbouring island of Maroshi in Shaviyani Atoll.

Thulusdhoo is the capital island of Male' Atoll and it is a centre for industrial activities. There are factories located there including a bottling plant for Coca Cola. It is quite near to Male' and can be reached in two hours in a mechanized wooden boat (dhoni) or in about 40 minutes by a speedboat.

I must find the time to watch the state-owned TVM. Even if it disturbs me.

written by: niOS


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