Fire at children’s shelter was due to lack of fire safety measures: Ombudsperson

Fire at Kudakudhinge Hiya | Photo: MNDF

Malé, Maldives – The Ombudsperson’s Office said that the fire which broke out at the children’s shelter in Villimalé, ‘Kudakudhinge Hiya’, earlier this month was due to the lack of adequate fire safety measures.

The Ombudsperson appointed for the protection of children’s rights Niumath Shafeeg said while giving information to local media “Avas”, that a team was sent to shelter within an hour following the fire incident. She said that after an evaluation of the location, it was noted that adequate safety measures were not implemented at the shelter.

The head of the shelter, Moomina Adam said to local media “Avas”, that a fire alarm system was installed at the shelter during the time of the fire. However, Ombudsperson Niumath said that no such fire safety measures was taken. She said that if such a system was present, the incident would have been prevented beforehand.

She further said that problems associated with the incident noted by the office have been sent to the Gender Ministry. However, Niumath said that as this is a matter being investigated by the police, the Ombudsperson’s Office will not be investigating into the case. They only noted how it led the situation.

Kudakudhinge Hiya is located in Villingili which is the fifth ward of Male’ the capital of Maldives. This residential care facility is managed by the Ministry of Gender. The institution is established to provide a safe, secure and enabling environment for vulnerable children who have no other means of primary care. There are over a hundred children residing in the facility.