Facing extinction from rising seas, Maldives to buy homeland abroad
November 10, 2008
The Maldives will establish a trust fund to buy a homeland abroad once rising sea levels swamp the island nation, says Mohamed Nasheed, president-elect of the Maldives. The funds would come from the country’s revenue from tourism.
“Global warming and environmental issues are issues of major concern to the Maldivian people. We are just about three feet above sea level,” Ibrahim Hussein Zaki, Mr Nasheed’s spokesman, told the BBC’s World Today program. “So any sea level rise could have a devastating effect on the people of the Maldives and their very survival”.
“We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It’s an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome. After all, the Israelis [began by buying] land in Palestine,” Nasheed was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
Nasheed says the homeland would be established in the region — possibly India or Sri Lanka — where the culture is similar, according to the BBC.
Nasheed, also known as Anni, swept to power in the elections last month. He replaced Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a strongman who ran the country for 30 years and has had Nasheed imprisoned more than a dozen times. Nasheed now walks with a limp after being tortured by Gayoom’s security forces.