THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The domestic terminal of the Thiruvananthapuram airport was abuzz with activity on Friday as the Indian Air Force (IAF) readied a giant Ilyushin-76 transporter with thousands of bottles of water for Maldives, which is facing an acute water crisis after a fire at its water treatment plant cut off supply.
By 1 pm, the IL-76 took off with 22 tonnes of potable water for Male, the capital city of the island nation.
“From Thiruvananthapuram, Male is just one hour away,” an IAF spokesperson said. The IL-76 which took off from here in the afternoon was one of three transport aircraft that the IAF dispatched by Friday evening following an SOS Maldives sent to India on Thursday. The IL-76 which took off from Thiruvananthapuram had been hastily flown in from Chandigarh for the purpose, a defence spokesperson here said. The other two aircraft - C-17 Globemasters - were dispatched fron New Delhi, an IAF spokesperson said.
Two more flights were expected to leave New Delhi late in the night with more water, the spokesperson said.
The two C-17 Globemasters left New Delhi at 3.30 p.m. and 5 pm respectively.
The fire had broken out on Thursday damaging the cables at the water treatment plant cutting off water supply to around one lakh residents.