From: Associated Press
Published September 14, 2005 12:00 AM

Maldives Still Faces Drinking Water Shortages after Tsunami

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — About 90,000 residents of the Maldives still have shortages of potable water nearly nine months after the Asian tsunami slammed into the Indian Ocean archipelago and contaminated supplies, a U.N. report said Wednesday.


The information was reported in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals update, which said a shortage of safe drinking water was one of the biggest development challenges facing the Maldives after the Dec. 26 tsunami. The U.N. initiative sets targets to reduce poverty and disease by 2015.


"We are yet to fully understand the long-term impact that the tsunami will have had on poverty in this country," said Patrice Coeur-Bizot, resident U.N. coordinator in the Maldives. "Besides destroying thousands of homes ... we know that it left many islanders with long-term pollution to their water supply."


The tsunami left at least 82 people dead and 2,200 households needing emergency water after it struck, but the long-term affect on ordinary islanders may be much greater, he said.


The tsunami contaminated ground water with salt and waste from septic tanks on many islands.


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The Maldives is made up of 1,192 coral islands about 500 kilometers (300 miles) off southern India and is home to 300,000 people.


Source: Associated Press


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