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Pres Solih holds cabinet meeting following tragic fire incident

Shahudha Mohamed
21 September 2019, MVT 09:54
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih presiding over an emergency session of the Cabinet following the tragic fire incident. The emergency Cabinet session was held at Mulee'aage, the Official Residence of the President, late Friday night. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Shahudha Mohamed
21 September 2019, MVT 09:54

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, late Friday night, presided over an emergency meeting held amongst cabinet members following the tragic blaze that ravaged Henveiru ward in capital Male', destroying seven residences and claiming a life.

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) revealed that the fire initially broke out at a warehouse in Fehi Aabaadhu residence, where flammable chemicals were stored.

The blaze that broke out at Fehi Aabaadhu residence spread quickly to nearby houses. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU

During the session held at Mulee'aage, the cabinet discussed measures on preventing similar disasters in the future.

A decision was made to implement a plan to relocate warehouses which store dangerous and hazardous chemicals away from residential areas as swiftly as possible.

In addition, members finalised a decision to instruct the Ministry of Finance to oversee the provision of financial assistance to those affected in the fire, whilst considering the relief efforts regarding the incident.

The cabinet also decided to involve the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other relevant authorities in providing temporary shelter for those rendered homeless in the tragedy.

Over 115 individuals registered at the relief centres established at Kalaafaanu School, Imaduddin School and Majeedhiyya School for families affected in the fire.

Various volunteers offered donations for the displaced families following announcements by NDMA, flooding the relief centres with necessary items.

A volunteer bringing cases of drinking water to the relief centre established at Kalaafaanu School. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU

Maldives Police Service, MNDF and Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) coordinated together to douse the blaze with the public's help. Nearby buildings were evacuated as the fire continued to spread well into the night.

Authorities faced numerous challenges in controlling the unprecedented fire as it broke out in a narrow street.

Public played a large role in aiding authorities to control the blaze. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU

Embers caused multiple fires, reaching houses 400 metres away from the chemical warehouse where it initially broke out.

Various individuals were rushed to nearby ADK hospital due to inhalation of chemical fumes.

At 2241 hours on Friday night, MNDF stated that the fire was controlled from spreading further. However, a single building remained on fire.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih visited the site accompanied by First Lady Fazna Ahmed. He was briefed by senior officials of MNDF regarding the incident. Prior to his arrival, Vice President Faisal Naseem was present at the scene.

Following reports of missing 49-year-old Aishath Shauna, MNDF security forces later discovered human remains 'burnt beyond recognition' human remains at her residence.

According to the authorities, no other persons were reported missing and Shauna remains the only confirmed casualty in the incident.

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