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Cablegate: Tfxo01: Maldives Sitrep -- Low Casualties, High

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 002063

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SA, SA/INS
NSC FOR DORMANDY
DEPARTMENT PASS USAID/OFDA - THAYER
BANGKOK FOR TOM DOLAN
NEW DELHI FOR FAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC AEMR EAID PREL PGOV MV
SUBJECT: TFXO01: MALDIVES SITREP -- LOW CASUALTIES, HIGH
PROPERTY DAMAGE

REF: COLOMBO 2053 AND PREVIOUS

1. FOREIGN TOURISTS: Econoff visited Maldives on December
27, 2004. As of 2030 on December 27, no American citizens
have been reported killed in Maldives and there are no known
American citizens reported missing or injured in Maldives.
The Government of the Republic of Maldives (GORM) believes it
has done a complete accounting of foreigners at tourist
resorts. Three British tourists died; any other injuries to
foreign tourists were only minor, according to GORM
officials. Safari boat operators were also contacted and
reported no losses. In general, tourist islands fared better
than locally inhabited islands.

2. AFFECTED MALDIVIANS: The Maldivian casuality figures
stand at 52 dead, plus 68 missing (presumed dead). The GORM
estimates that 17,000 Maldivians -- from the 122 islands
reported -- have been internally displaced by the December 26
tsunamis. Seventy-nine inhabited islands had not reported

SIPDIS
back to Male'. Nineteen out of the 122 contacted islands are
"total losses," according to officials. Those citizens are
being evacuated to other nearby islands or to the capital
island of Male'. One whole island of 4,000 citizens was
evacuated to Male'. In addition to food and water, shelter
is the next most critical need.

3. GORM officials told econoff during a December 27 visit to
Male' that communications to approximately one-quarter of the
200 inhabited (not resort) islands had been disrupted.
According to officials, the swell destroyed the generators
that operated the microwave communication towers. Speed boat
between islands has become the next most useful form of
communication.

4. UN MISSION: According to a late December 28 conversation
with UNDP Resident Representative Moez Doraid, the four most
critical needs in Maldives are water, food, medical supplies,
and transportation (of supplies to the outlying islands).
Doraid said that water supplies/acquifers had been destroyed
on 37 inhabited islands and there was limited or no
electricity on 31 islands. UNDP is basing planning estimates
on a target population of 100,000 (the most severely
affected). UNDP is anticipating the arrival of two
additional UN officials from India as well as the late
December 28 arrival of a 4-person UNOCHA team for a 15-day
mission. Doraid told poloff that UN Maldives would have the
capacity to support the delivery of U.S. assistance.

5. USAID PLANS: USAID officials are tentatively planning to
send one member of the DART team to Maldives on or about
December 31 for an initial assessment of providing a
commodities shipment.

6. OTHER ASSISTANCE TO MALDIVES: GORM officials told
econoff that two Pakistani ships already in the Maldives on a
"friendship visit," were helping to evacuate Maldivians to
Male'. The Indians have sent two coast guard planes and are
sending two coast guard ships, two small and one large
helicopters, all estimated to be arriving in the next two
days. Shallow draught boats to ship supplies are needed to
approach and clear the reefs surrounding each island.

LUNSTEAD

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