Maldives Libraries and the Tsunami
The Tsunami of December 26, 2004 caused tremendous damages to life and property throughout the Maldives.
“The impact of the tsunami on Maldives was a disaster that affected the entire nation,” said Alastair McKechnie, Maldives Country Director for the World Bank. “Although the loss of life in the Maldives was mercifully less compared to other countries affected by the tsunami, the damage to the economy makes it one of the worst-affected countries. Twenty islands—nearly one tenth of the 198 inhabited islands in the Maldives—were largely devastated, and 14 islands evacuated. Almost one third of the country’s 300,000 people were directly affected by the tsunami, with nearly 12,000 people displaced and another 8,500 temporarily relocated within their own islands.”
It is heartwarming to note that the International Community is extending financial and other recovery aid need for the Maldives to reconstruct its livelihood. However, these contributions are used for basic needs like establishing relief shelter, electricity, water, food and other basic necessities.
The Maldives Library Association seeks assistance from the International community to reconstruct and repair the damage caused by the Tsunami to the libraries. It is not very clear the exact level of damage caused to the libraries as all libraries in the country were not registered. Moreover, a physical survey of all damaged areas is not very feasible due to the geographical distribution of the islands.
An assessment of the destruction to private libraries was undertaken over the phone. This assessment was not comprehensive as there are difficulties in reaching some libraries due to many reasons including un-notified changes in the contact details and the total destruction of the building and the resulting relocation. The damage assessment to school libraries is much clearer as; the Ministry of Education had the data collected from the respective schools. A summary of the available data on the level of destruction caused to libraries is attached with this document. Letters have been sent to the respective departments requesting more information and this will be made available as it is received.
According to the estimates, the damage to building and resources are huge. Some libraries have lost all of their material including the building itself, while other libraries have major damages and yet others with little to no damages at all. The Maldives Library Association is doing what it can to help the reconstruction, however, the loss and damage is far beyond what we can recover on our own resources. Therefore we request for International donations to overcome the devastating hurdle we have encountered.
Donations in the form of either library material (including reading material, furniture, machinery & equipment) or financial assistance would be a great help. Help is also needed in surveying the libraries in the outer Islands for assessment of damage caused.
Habeba Hussain Habeeb
President, Maldives Library Association
Tel: +(960) 338858
Maldives Library Association
Tel: +(960) 331090, (960) 765181
Fax: +(960) 316498
The table below lists damages by region useing data dervied from the Ministry of Education:
|Atoll||Island||Sum of Fiction||Sum of Magzines||Sum of Periodicals||Sum of Reference||Degree of Destruction|
Basis of Categorization of School after Tsunami
Category D Total replacement of school including equipment and furniture, rebuilding
Category C+ Flooding of ground floor, boundary wall destroyed (100 - 50 %) structural
Category C Partial damage (30%) to furniture, equipment and teaching materials on ground
References and Links