President orders relocation of chemical storages to non-residential areas

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (C) observes the fire and rescue operation in Henveyru district of Male' City on September 20, 2019. (Photo/President's Office)

 President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has instructed relevant State agencies to initiate work for the immediate relocation of chemical storage facilities in the capital, Male’, to non-residential areas.

The President issued the instructions during his meeting with the National Disaster Council this Saturday.

The instructions come in the wake of the massive fire in a neighborhood in the Henveyru district of the capital which resulted in the death of a 46-year-old woman, and destroyed four chemical storage facilities and six residential buildings last Friday.

Defense Ministry has revealed that there are currently 126 chemical storage facilities located in Male’ - 82 of which are located in residential areas.

The President has urged State officials to expedite work on relocating the chemical storage facilities to non-residential areas to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

According to the President’s Office, officials from MNDF, during the National Disaster Council meeting, noted the lack of regulations regarding storage, usage, and disposal of chemicals in Maldives, and announced that the necessary regulations were being drafted.

The President responded by urging the MNDF to publish and enact the regulations as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, officials from National Disaster Management Authority briefed the President on the latest updates on the efforts to assist the hundreds left homeless due to the fire.

The President has urged the officials to make arrangements so the education of the school children at temporary shelters goes uninterrupted, and they are able to attend classes when schools open on Sunday.

Residents of total 47 houses have been evacuated due to the fire and are being provided temporary shelter at Kalaafaanu School and Imaduddin School, as well as several hotels and vacant government housing units.