Hazard, Resilience and Development: The Case of Two Maldivian Islands
- trans-scalar perspective,
- land reclamation
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Due to their geophysical structure, the Maldives face various natural hazards, such as coastal erosion, rising water levels, tsunamis and other climate-related disasters. In 2004, the country was affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, with almost 12,000 displaced persons and a further 8,500 relocated inhabitants. In the context of the country’s efforts to achieve sustainable development and face climate change, disaster risk reduction and resilience capacity are key issues. The Government is working hard to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risks Reduction 2015-2030, linked to Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The paper considers the cases of two islands in Dhaalu Atoll – Meedhoo and Rin’budhoo – both affected by the tsunami, where social and economic resilience produced two different models of development. The tsunami hit Meedhoo hard. The island economy depends on fishing and the main threats are its small size and soil erosion. Thus, in 2006 a large area around the island was reclaimed and in 2014 larger reclamation projects were started. Rin’budhoo was also severly impacted by the tsunami; there were two victims and a lot of infrastructural damage, forcing many people to migrate. However, for years local government has promoted no land reclamation. The recovery of the island started from its historical and cultural heritage and the revival of traditional crafts and goldsmithery, involving young people. Two islands, two different resilience stories.