The government, on Monday, announced its intention to establish a shelter for homeless individuals on Gulhifalhu, Kaafu Atoll.
Chairman of the National Drug Agency (NDA) board Abdul Hameed stated that following relocation to Gulhifalhu, the needs of homeless individuals present in the capital city of Male' would be assessed.
Following the assessment, any individuals identified with a drug addiction will be sent to the temporary detox camp in Farukolhufushi.
Representative for the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services on the NDA board, State Minister Aishath Rasheedha noted that individuals would only be relocated with their consent.
She further revealed that those housed at the centres would receive training to develop skills for employment.
In this regard, the state minister also added that a meeting was held with Vice President Faisal Naseem on Sunday, to discuss the provision of job opportunities for homeless individuals.
The restrictions on local and global travel and tourism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic had severe repercussions on the Maldivian economy, with many losing their jobs and local companies struggling to stay afloat.
In addition to ongoing efforts to offer shelter to homeless individuals, the government also introduced an Income Support Allowance to provide a temporary monthly allowance of up to MVR 5,000, to individuals that lost their employment or income amid the pandemic.
According to the gender ministry, 31 percent of homeless people that requested government assistance as of April were identified as being addicted to drugs. As with most parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact vulnerable groups such as drug addicts, women and children as per various official sources.
During mid-April, the World Bank estimated that Maldives will be the worst-hit country in the South Asian region, in the ensuing economic regression caused by the pandemic.
In a bid to counteract the financial impact of COVID-19, the Maldives government introduced an economic relief fund with MVR 2.5 billion intended to prevent the closing down of local businesses and the loss of jobs.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry projected earlier that the state deficit would reach MVR 13 billion this year compared to the MVR 5.9 billion originally stated in the 2020 State Budget, as a result of economic repercussions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry also projected that the total state debt sans guarantee would increase to MVR 70 billion, which accounts for 86.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An overall 115 percent drop is projected in the GDP, along with 81.3 percent for nominal GDP.