COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Water was cut off to more than 100,000 residents in the Maldives' capital because of a fire in the city's water treatment plant, a minister said Friday.
Government Minister Mohamed Shareef said the government has declared a crisis situation and appealed to India, Sri Lanka and China and the United States for help.
The capital is located on a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean that has no natural water source and depends entirely on treated sea water.
The government provided bottled drinking water free of charge but the people struggled without enough water for washing.
Rajeev Shahare, India's envoy to the archipelago nation said water will be brought in large planes in five flights Friday and an offshore patrol vessel in the ocean with a water treating facility has been diverted to the Maldives.
Shareef said it may take days to resume operations in the treatment plant because destroyed parts need to be brought in from abroad.
Hospitals in the capital and the country's famous tourist resort islands have their own water facilities.