Maldives: Tsunami Economic loss will be billions
The economic losses of the tsunami expected to run into billions of US dollars in the Maldives
1 January 2004 (Saturday) - The Chief Government Spokesman of the Government of Maldives, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, today said that the economic losses of Sunday’s devastating tsunami would be higher in the Maldives than for any other affected country.
“The Maldives was the only country where the effects were felt across the country, rather than in certain parts or regions. In our case, the whole country has come to a near standstill. Being heavily dependent on tourism, and with 19 resorts having to suspend operations for many months to carry out renovation works as a result of the tsunami, the Government is extremely concerned about the medium to long term effects as much as the devastation left by the tsunami across the archipelago. Nine resorts had to be evacuated. 46 of the 87 resorts have suffered damage”, said Dr. Shaheed.
“A week before the disaster, the Maldives was confirmed for graduation from the UN list of least-developed countries, for its remarkable socio-economic development over the past quarter century. The country boasts the highest per-capita income and human development index in South Asia.
“Things were looking very promising indeed. The GDP had grown by 8.8% this year – even higher than expected. The Government budget remained in surplus at the end of the year and the national reserve had also increased. These numbers were achieved through a lot of persistent hard work by the people and the Government. All this has vanished in a matter of minutes. It has literally been washed away”, said Dr. Shaheed.
Experts are putting the total losses incurred by the Maldives at well over a billion US dollar – almost twice the country’s GDP. The tsunami disaster is the worst in the country’ history with 74 people already confirmed dead, 30 still missing and over 11,000 displaced.