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Cablegate: Maldives Flooding: Text of President Gayoom's

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0736 1411246
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211246Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6088
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 2056
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0579
RUEHLM/USDAO COLOMBO CE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000736

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/ES/CR AND SCA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPDC EAID PREL SENV MV
SUBJECT: MALDIVES FLOODING: TEXT OF PRESIDENT GAYOOM'S
LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH REQUESTING ASSISTANCE

1. Summary: The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs
delivered a diplomatic note to Embassy Colombo May 21
conveying a May 18 letter from Maldives President Gayoom to
President Bush stating that widespread flooding caused by
heavy sea swells had damaged a third of Maldives' 194
inhabited islands and requesting "immediate support and
assistance." Embassy Colombo is coordinating with Office of
Foreign Disaster Assistance regional advisor, who is
currently in Sri Lanka, to assess the damage in Maldives and
make a recommendation about possible USG assistance. USAID
Colombo, which has a small tsunami reconstruction grant
underway in Maldives, has asked its Male'-based contractor to
check with International Committee of the Red Cross
representatives around Maldives for their assessment of the
flood damage and needs. The full text of President Gayoom's
letter follows. End summary.

2. Begin text:

President
Republic of Maldives
Male
18 May 2007

His Excellency Mr. George W. Bush,
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, D.C.
United States of America

Excellency,

I write to bring to your urgent attention an environmental
emergency that has inflicted damage to homes, livelihoods and
infrastructure in many parts of the country. My people are
once more facing difficulties and heartache.

Over the past three days, more than one-third of our 194
inhabited islands have been experiencing widespread flooding
as a result of unprecedented sea swells. Apart from he
devastating 2004 Tsunami, never in our recorded history have
so many islands faced flooding simultaneously. While, with
the Grace of the Almighty Allah, there have been no
casualties as a result of the flooding, extensive damage has
been caused to homes, jetties and fishing vessels. The
flooding of islands by sea water has also destroyed trees,
plants and crops on many islands. The large number of
islands where urgent assistance is needed has stretched our
capacities for provision of immediate relief and recovery.

As you know, the severe impacts of the December 2004 tsunami
disaster had caused tremendous damage to the country and its
economy. It set us back by many years, in our development
efforts. While we have been restoring the lives and
livelihoods of our people, rebuilding our damaged homes and
infrastructure across the country over the past two and a
half years, this latest environmental emergency will
certainly create further grave challenges in what is already
a gigantic task.

In the light of the above, I appeal to you and your
government for your immediate support and assistance in
helping the victims by providing relief and recovery at the
earliest possible time.

This latest calamity also highlights the environmental
vulnerability of our archipelago and the urgent need for
greater long-term international assistance in mitigation
against natural disasters and environmental emergencies. It
is quite clear that apart from national efforts, concerted
international action is required to protect our fragile
environment.

We look forward to the continued assistance and support from
our development partners and friends in our hour of need.

Yours sincerely,
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

End text.
BLAKE

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