New address

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Published: Sunday 15 February 2009

Maldives prefers India, Sri Lanka, Australia for relocation

FOR the new president of Maldives, acquiring land in foreign countries for his people is a priority. The country, said to have over a thousand 'Robinson Crusoe islands', is under threat of getting submerged with rising sea levels due to climate change.

Possible destinations include India and Sri Lanka, given the cultural and linguistic ties and perhaps Australia too since land is available in plenty there, President Mohamed Nasheed told Down To Earth. "Part of Maldives' billion-dollar annual tourist revenue will have to be diverted for the scheme. I am not going to watch our population turning into ecological refugees," he said. "Given the rapid rise in sea levels, homes of over 380,000 inhabitants may just disappear under waves," he added.

A one-metre rise in sea level would almost totally submerge the country's 1,192 coral islands. Experts predict a rise of at least 18 centimetres by the end of the century.

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