The homeless expatriates affected by the fire at Imaduddin School, a relief shelter. Dhauru Photo

Co-workers up for prayer alert others; save lives from major fire

Relevant authorities are working together to provide food, drinking water and other essential supplies to the homeless people at Imaduddin School.

9 January 2023

By Aishath Fareeha Abdulla

Mohammad Shohail Mia of Bangladesh was on duty at Sultan Park when the fire broke out in Male's main second-hand market in the early hours of Sunday. A friend informed him about a fire in the area where he too lives in the labour quarters. Since Shohail's money and belongings were also in the labour quarter, he quickly ran in that direction.

"I was running and then I fell. A local who was there at the time picked me up and brought me on my bike," Shohail told Atoll Times, sitting on the yard of Imaduddin School, where the victims of the fire were present.

From the front, it was visible that the three-storey accommodation block where 60 expatriates lived, including him was burnt down. Next to it, there was smoke billowing from the Neelan shop area where the first fire broke out.

Shohail said that when he reached the area with the local, the block where they lived was on fire, and he could not possibly get inside.

"At that time, the flame was huge. The police were blocking [the road]. That's why nothing could be saved," he said.

Shohail says he doesn't have much money. However, the MVR 4,000 he had saved to send for his children's school fees to Bangladesh would be there, he said.

Other workers of Male City Council, in the school’s temporary shelter after being affected by the fire, said the same. They don't have much money there. They said they would keep MVR 1,000-2,000. However, all of their belongings and clothes were burnt to ashes.

"There were some people who wake up in the morning for Fajr prayers. They saw the fire and called everyone. Everyone was able to get out before the fire broke out," said another migrant, explaining how the foreigners in the accommodation blocks managed to survive without getting hurt.

Where the migrants lived, there would be a shop run by them themselves selling groceries, said a migrant worker. The shop contained around MVR 40,000 worth of goods and all of them were burnt, the man said.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other relevant authorities are working together to provide food, drinking water and other essential supplies to the homeless people at Imaduddin School.

In the early hours of the morning, their place of residence was burnt down and some expatriates were sleeping in the premises of Imaduddin School, where they were provided temporary accommodation.

A major fire broke out at Neelan Fihaara around 5.43 am, MNDF said. Though the fire has been doused, smoke is still billowing out of the area. Police commissioner Mohamed Hameed said police and army personnel were jointly cleaning up the area where the fire broke out and an investigation was underway to find out the cause of the fire.

A total of 166 people working for the Male city council, from the burned down labour quarters are staying at Imaduddin School. They include one Indian and 165 Bangladeshis.

A labour quarter of Rainbow Construction in the area was also gutted. As many as 133 people who lived there have been shifted to another labour quarter by Rainbow.