President: We must solve congestion in Male’, relocate garages

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (C) outside M. Nirufehi on November 10, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

Lessening the risk of dangerous incidents such as the fatal fire in Maafannu district early Thursday requires easing the congestion in Male’ City, which is something the government will work on, states President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

The fire broke out in a car repair garage in M. Nirufehi, located near the Maaveyo Mosque, around 12:30 am. The garage is located on the ground floor, while the first-floor houses cramped living quarters for migrant workers – the only ventilation – a single window.

The quarters housed migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

10 people died, while one, identified as a Bangladeshi national, is in critical condition.

Speaking to press outside the building Thursday morning, President Solih said it was crucial to relocate garages and workshops to non-residential areas.

“What needs to be done in this, the key thing that must be done, is to solve congestion in Male’. And to relocate garages, workshops and businesses like this to a designated area away from the residential area,” he said.

President Solih said his administration planned on relocating such businesses to designated areas in Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.

“This is something that requires an urgent solution,” he said.

President Solih said he would discuss the urgent measures that must be taken in response to the fire.

He also spoke about how the fire in Abadhahfani neighborhood in 2019 sparked changes.

“Back then, chemical warehouses were located on ground floors of homes and in stores. But we took immediate action in response to the incident, and relocated all chemical warehouses in Male’. There should no longer be any chemical warehouses in Male’,” he said.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks to press outside M. Nirufehi on November 10, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

According to authorities, the migrant quarters above the garage had housed at least 38 people.

28 people were evacuated out of the building, while nine people were initially reported missing.

Seven of them were found dead, while two were taken to Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) with severe burns. One of them died at the hospital, while the second, identified as a Bangladeshi national, is in critical condition.

Firefighters later recovered two more bodies from the building, raising the death toll 10.

Speaking to press, Colonel Ibrahim Rasheed, Commandant, MNDF Fire and Rescue Service said the dead bodies recovered from the scene were severely burnt, making it difficult to identify them or even determine their sex.