President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday instructed all relevant authorities to immediately commence relocating all chemical storages to safe and isolated locations away from residential areas.
He gave the directive while meeting the National Disaster Council in light of the tragic fire incident that took place in Henveiru ward of capital city Male’ on Friday night.
At the meeting held in Presidential residence 'Mulee’aage' on Saturday, the President held extensive discussions with relevant authorities in regards to the current practice of storing hazardous flammable chemicals in dense residential areas and the probable threats it causes to citizens living in Male’.
During the meeting, officials from the Ministry of Defence briefed President Solih on all storage facilities and warehouses in the capital, and brought to light that there are 126 chemical storages in Male' presently.
Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officials emphasised further challenges in authorities handling hazardous chemicals due to lack of established protocols and further stated that they are currently working on gazetting the rules and regulations on importing, storing and disposal of hazardous chemicals in Maldives.
President Solih urged the authorities to expedite the process and called for the immediate adherence to new guidelines.
Moreover, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials provided the President with the latest updates regarding the progress of providing assistance and temporary housing to those impacted by the tragic fire incident.
President Solih enquired about the current situation of the individuals displaced by the fire and requested authorities to provide assistance to allow affected students to return to schools on Sunday.
NDMA revealed that they commenced conducting engineering assessments of the 43 houses that were evacuated in the fire incident. They declared that they would green-light displaced individuals to return to their places of residence after a full assessment and clean up of the affected areas.
Assigning top priority to relocate warehouses and storage spaces out of residential areas in Male', the President discussed short and long term strategies regarding the storage of goods in the capital.