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Businesses hit, day-to-day life crippled in Maldives water crisis
Monday December 8, 2014 7:40 AM, IANS

Businesses in Maldives have been hit severely and over 130,000 people have been left without water for bathing, cleaning and cooking, as the water crisis in the country entered the fourth day Sunday.

Maldives water crisis
[Trucks lined up for collection of water, in Maldives on December 07, 2014.]

Popular restaurants in the Maldives capital of Male have shut down due to the suspension of water supply and the most basic drinks such as coffee were no longer available in restaurants, Xinhua reported.

The lack of water for cleaning dirty dishes has led to a huge drop in hygiene standards, with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) issuing an advice against eating from restaurants and cafes.

Maldives had declared emergency after a major fire Thursday at capital Male's sole water sewage treatment plan led to shortage of drinking water in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

Maldives has no natural water source and consumes only treated sea water.

"Customer complaints would increase if quality service isn't provided. This would lead to customers hesitating to even return here. So we (have) decided to temporarily close (down) until the water issue is resolved," Mohamed Azum, the manager of the popular restaurant "City Garden" told Xinhua.

Several other proprietors also expressed the same sentiments.

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 businesses.

India had pressed into service five air force transport aircrafts and one naval vessel carrying a large consignment of potable water to meet the immediate requirements in Maldives.

The Indian Navy Thursday despatched offshore patrol vessel INS Sukanya with 35 tonne of fresh water. The vessel is also equipped with two Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants onboard with a capacity of producing 20 tonne of fresh water per day.

The Maldives government has set up water distribution centres at schools and other public spaces, with each person allowed two 1.5-litre bottles, leading to the formation of large queues stretching around the capital.

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