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At a Glance: Child Protection and Adolescent Livelihoods in the Maldives

At a Glance: Disaster Risk

  • The average elevation of the islands is 1.8 metres, exposing them to the vulnerabilities of sea level rise,  storm surges and tsunamis.
  • While the probability of a disaster is moderate, Maldives experiences high vulnerability  due to   geographical, topographical and socio-economic factors
  • With about three-quarters of the land area of Maldives being less than a meter above mean sea  level, the slightest rise in sea level will prove extremely threatening

Situation in the Maldives
With no history of frequent or destructive natural disaster, the Maldives has long been thought to have only a moderate vulnerability to the hazards of nature. But the tsunami that washed over this small island nation in December 2004 dramatically altered that perception forever more. Its fragile ecological profile, its economic dependence on the tourism and fisheries sectors, and its high import dependence coupled with limited transport facilities make the Maldives one of the most vulnerable countries in the region.

Today the country faces three major disaster risks: climate change (particularly the risk from rising sea levels); storm surges; and tsunamis. It is also exposed to droughts, heavy rains, earthquakes, and high waves caused by cyclones in the South Indian Ocean. Still other potential disasters include oil spills and aviation related hazards

UNDP's Response
UNDP's first hazard assessment in early 2005 indicated that the Maldives is at risk not just from tsunami but also tidal waves, floods, storm-surges, earthquakes, dry spells, and the consequences of climate change. UNDP's Disaster Risk Management Project builds capacity of national and local institutions; carries out multi-hazard disaster preparedness planning and mitigation activities; supports a new early warning system; and provides essential training to officials and communities.

The Future of Disaster Risk Management
UNDP has long viewed disaster risk management as a crucial element of any nation's sustainable development. In the case of the Maldives, the tsunami highlighted only too clearly the importance of adequate risk reduction strategies. UNDP's Disaster Risk Management project in the Maldives seeks to:

 • Establish an institutional framework and policy for disaster management.
 • Develop multi-hazard preparedness and response plans at the national, atoll, and island levels.
 • Implement awareness raising, training, and capacity building at all levels.

UNDP has leveraged the successes of its role in tsunami recovery in Maldives to establish the Crisis Prevention and Recovery practice area, which will guide the organization’s work in disaster managementin the country  for the foreseeable future.

Our Partners in Disaster Risk Management
Local Partners: Ministry of Atolls Development; Ministry of Defence & National Security; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Environment, Energy & Water; Ministry of Planning & National Development; Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; community-based organizations and NGOs

Donors:  Australia; Canada; Germany; Huvafenfushi Resort; Korea; Switzerland; Tuvalu; UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; UN Volunteers; UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery; UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation; United Kingdom

Key Achievements Since December 2004

  • Tourism sector disaster managment framework developed
  • Disaster simulation exercise held in Vaavu and MeemuAtolls - first in country
  • Supported the development of a National Disaster Management Policy
  • Twenty members of key ministries trained on application of GIS in disaster risk management
  • Communications equipment provided to the national and five regional Emergency Operation Centers
  • Procurement of equipment worth $1.8 million for establishing an Early Warning System










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