Sinking atoll

Maldives president concerned over global warming

Published: Saturday 30 September 2000

Global warming literally threatens to swallow the small archipelago in the Indian Ocean and the worries are begin to show upon the people. In his recent state visit to India, Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom expressed deep concern over the threat to Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. India has agreed to cooperate with the island nation in any international forum on the issue of global warming.

According to predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, some lowlying islands of Maldives will face the threat from sea level rise of around 20 cm by 2030 and approximately 30 cm by the next century. Many islands in Maldives lie just one to two metres above mean sea level, so even a minimal rise in sea level could lead to submergence of some of the 1,200 islands that make up the archipelago.

"While low-lying island states like Maldives will face the worst consequences of global warming, they are also among those with the least means of undertaking protective and preventive measures," Gayoom said at a recent meeting. "We hope that industrialised nations realise that the fate of low-lying countries cannot be divorced from that of the rest of the world," he added.

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