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Eye of the Maldives

Price: £569.25 (including 15 % tax)

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The Eye of the Maldives is a faro, a coral formation on a rocky base that has sunk, hiding all but a ring-shaped reef that encircles a shallow lagoon. Coral can only form in water of a relatively high temperature, and thus atolls develop principally in intertropical regions. The lowest country in the world, with a high point not exceeding 8.25 feet (2.5 m), the Maldive archipelago contains 26 large atolls, including 1,190 islands, nearly 300 of which are inhabited either permanently or seasonally by tourists. The archipelago was severely hit by the tsunami of December 26, 2004, which killed 83 and injured more than 2,000. The coastlines were altered, and some of the islands sank beneath the sea. The coral reefs were also partially destroyed by the gigantic wave and the debris it carried. As well as affecting the tourist trade, the Maldives’ main economic resource, the damage to the coral food chain has harmed fishing and the livelihoods of the local people. Aware of the archipelago’s fragility, the authorities and the international community had already set up containing measures to limit the rise of the water level, but the barriers around the capital, Male, did not stop the water from getting through.


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