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Maldives seek to buy a new Homeland

11 Nov 2008

The Guardian

by Randeep Ramesh

The Maldives will begin to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue into buying a new homeland - as an insurance policy against climate change that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees, the country's first democratically elected president has told the Guardian.

Mohamed Nasheed, who takes power officially tomorrow in the island's capital, Male, said the chain of 1,200 island and coral atolls dotted 500 miles from the tip of India is likely to disappear under the waves if the current pace of climate change continues to raise sea levels.

The UN forecasts that the seas are likely to rise by up to 59cm by 2100, due to global warming. Most parts of the Maldives are just 1.5m above water. The president said even a "small rise" in sea levels would inundate large parts of the archipelago.

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