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6 island nations threatened by climate change

The One & Only Resort Reethi Rah. Maldives

Photo: Sarah_Ackerman/Flickr

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Republic of Maldives

The Maldives are a picturesque chain comprising over 1,100 islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean. However, this paradise may soon be lost to rising sea levels. The highest parts of the Maldives rise to no more than 8 feet. This leaves its nearly 400,000 residents at great risk of storm surges and rising seas. The island received considerable damage in the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which decimated fresh water supplies and damaged homes. Further, extreme mining of the protective sand and coral around the islands has made them even more vulnerable to rising waters. In 2009, then-President Mohamed Nasheed emerged during the Copenhagen Summit as the face of this issue on a planetary scale. As Salon noted, “if his country cannot be saved from rising sea levels, then there may be no saving Tokyo or Mumbai or New Orleans or New York.”