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‘Adopt An Island’ - UN Initiative To Help Maldives

‘Adopt An Island’ – New UN Initiative To Help Maldives Recover From Tsunami

Big businesses can now adopt small islands in the tsunami-ravaged Maldives under a new United Nations programme to provide funds for people to rebuild their homes in the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago, with the top price tag at over $4 million.

“While everyone in the Maldives has made great efforts to rebuild their shattered communities, outside assistance is needed if the challenge of rebuilding one-third of the countries’ inhabited islands is to be met,” UN Development Programme
Resident Representative Moez Doraid said at yesterday’s launching of the Adopt An Island initiative in Male, the capital.

The tsunami, which overall killed more than 200,000 people and left up to 5 million in need of basic services in a dozen countries, forced thousands of Maldivians from their homes and, in some cases, their communities. Thirteen islands had to be completely abandoned as all the buildings and infrastructure were smashed and fresh water sources contaminated by the sea.

Adoptions would cover the cost of purchasing and delivering essential construction materials like cement, steel, timber and tin. Island rebuilding teams would be established and paid through the programme, generating much needed income opportunities for many islanders.

The most expensive adoption at $4.4 million would enable more than a thousand people to rebuild and move back into their homes. At the other end of the scale, $95,000 would help 58 families mend their dwellings.

Although only about 80 people in the Maldives died in the tsunami, destruction was widespread. The world’s flattest country has a maximum altitude of only 2.3 metres, and consists of 1,190 coral islands, 202 of them inhabited, with 87 as exclusive resorts.

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