NEWARK CA, January 18, 2006: The tropical Maldives archipelago lies between Sri Lanka and the Horn of Africa. None of this nation’s 1,200 islands rises more than 1.5 meters above the Indian Ocean, creating certain disaster risks, which the United National Development Program (UNDP) partnered with RMSI to explore.
Maldives was among the most severely affected countries hit by the Asian Tsunami on December 26, 2004. The reason for Maldives’ evidently high vulnerability can be attributed to its particular geographic location, apparent effects of climate change, topographical features, tourism and fisheries based economy and associated trends of population concentration. To avoid the present scale of losses and damage in future, UNDP and RMSI initiated a study to address this context of Maldives’ high level of vulnerability.
Using GIS and Remote Sensing, RMSI’s team of risk modeling experts developed catastrophe risk models to assess various hazards in terms of their probable maximum impact using scientific principles, probabilistic methods, and global best practices. Furthermore, RMSI also developed a GIS base map of Maldives, which is the first in the country.
As part of the deliverables, the UNDP was provided with a detailed report that included various results, findings and recommendations. The hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments at island level were provided on a 5-point scale – very high, high, moderate, low and very low. UNDP and the Government of Maldives can use the findings of this study for planning developmental strategies that will help in mitigating future disasters.