Over 200 people gathered at a government office at 4:30 this morning to demand action to stop the severe erosion on the Maldive island of Maduvvaree. Four to eight coastal homes on the island have already been lost to beach erosion.
“We have promised the islanders that the project for long-term protection will start next year meaning as soon as possible in the new year,” said vice-president Dr Mohamed Waheed.
While Waheed and current president Mohamed Nasheed ran for office promising to address the issue, they now say the current budget leaves no money for action. However, Nasheed has begun saving cash to purchase a new homeland if the country does not survive rising sea levels.
The islanders fear that the upcoming monsoon season could lead to further erosion, said Ali Rilwan, the executive director of environmental group Bluepeace.
The country has the lowest elevation of any country on the planet, making it also among the most threatened by climate change. However, Rilwan blames poor planning in the past as much as the rising sea level. Around 20 harbors have been built on the island in recent years without any kind of environmental assessment.
“But if you upset waves by developing harbors without research we don’t know how this will affect the island.”