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Saturday, July 13, 2024

China sends second consignment of glacial water from Tibet to Maldives

Earlier on March 27, the Maldives government had announced that it had received a similar consignment of 1,500 tonnes of water from China.

China has gifted 1,500 tonnes of water from the Tibetan glaciers to Maldives, the second such donation in less than two months, a media report said on Friday.

This is the latest in the multiple grants and aid that China has promised the Maldives, especially since pro-China Mohamed Muizzu took over as the President in November 2023.

Not just that, Maldives and China are also collaborating to enhance weather monitoring systems in this small island nation that bears the brunt of changing climate, including challenges such as sea level rise.

According to a report in the news portal, China’s Xizang Autonomous Region gifted 1,500 tonnes of mineral water to the Maldives government on Thursday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the donated water will be distributed to island communities, for use during times of drinking shortage.

Earlier on March 27, the Maldives government had announced that it had received a similar consignment of 1,500 tonnes of water from China.

Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer, while speaking at a ceremony where Wang Lixin, the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, handed over the donation, said that China continues to remain a “good friend to the Maldives,” especially during the challenging times and crisis.

The minister also expressed his gratitude to the people of Xinjiang Autonomous Region for the kind gesture and to the government and the people of China for their continued support and goodwill.

“Grateful to receive 1,500 tonnes of mineral water from the people of Xizang Autonomous Region, PRC. This generous donation will greatly support our island communities during water shortages. Thank you for your support and friendship,” Zameer said on his official X handle late on Friday and tagged Wang while posting photos from the ceremony.

The Maldives has 26 atolls and its 1,192 islands are mostly composed of coral reefs and sandbars, a combination that makes groundwater and freshwater extremely scarce, and the problems are exacerbated due to climate change.

The country has tried between 2011 and 2015, a UN-funded ‘Increasing Climate Resilience through an Integrated Water Resources Management Programme’ but with limited success.

In December 2014, India carried out ‘Operation Neer’ during one of its worst water crises following a massive fire in the Male Water and Sewerage Company complex on December 4, 2014.

While announcing the earlier consignment in March, the government had said that the decision to provide Maldives with drinking water was reached during the official visit in November 2023 of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region’s Chairman, Yan Jinhai to the Maldives, when he met President Muizzu.

At that time, it was deliberated to donate water that is produced out of frozen water procured from glacial regions which are highly clean, clear, and rich in minerals. Moreover, Tibet (Xizang in Chinese) Autonomous Region is known to produce high-cost premium brands of water, the Maldives Foreign Ministry said then.

Previously, China had been exclusively known for its assistance in the urban and economic development of the Maldives. But since Muizzu assumed office, China has been helping the country with the supply of defence equipment too.

Meanwhile, a report in state-run PSM News Service said that efforts are ongoing to establish lightning detection and thunderstorm tracking systems in the Maldives with the assistance of the Chinese administration.

Speaking at a conference, Minister of Climate Change, Environment, and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim emphasised the reinforcement of these efforts through collaboration with China’s civil aviation administration.

The minister also highlighted discussions with China’s First Institute of Oceanography that are aimed at strengthening marine observation and forecasting capabilities in the Maldives, the report said.

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