Hoarafushi Airport was built according to EIA: Minister Aslam

Mohamed Aslam, Minister of National Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure | Photo: Housing Ministry

Malé, Maldives – Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam said that Hoarafushi Airport was damaged after bad weather during the past two days while preparations were being made to develop coastal protection around the airport.

The heavy rain during that past two days had a huge impact on Hoarafushi Airport with flooding inside the airport with damage to several equipment. The runway and causeway have also been damaged due to tidal waves to such an extent that the airport has become inoperable.

Environment Protection Agency (EPA) said that such severe damages to the airport may have been due to the way the land was reclaimed to develop the airport. Environmental Inspect Assessment (EIA) report said that reclamation and revetment was a necessity when the airport was being developed so close to the ocean. However, a coastal protection has not yet been built at the airport although the airport was operationalised 5 months ago.

Minister Aslam said giving information to local media “Mihaaru”, that the government has been negotiating with MTCC to build the coastline and that the airport was damaged while plans for the shore protection design were ongoing.

Minister Aslam further said that the incident was not simply due to weather and that this was a completely unexpected natural disaster. He stressed that such damages could be incurred after such a storm was not at all anticipated.

In addition to this, Aslam said that the land reclamation was done according to EIA and that the damages were not due to the negligence of the government. He noted that it was due to the completely unexpected natural disaster.

The operations at the airport have been completely stopped due to the damaged equipment and inoperable runway. Regional Airports said that the airport has not yet been insured and that this may lead to bigger losses for the company as well.