The Maldives have a tropical
monsoonal climate, with most of the rainfall occurring from June to December.
Most of the islands have poor soil and are covered by dense scrub with scattered
trees, including coconut palms. Fishing and tourism are the two major industries
of the country. A densely populated country, with more than 150 000 people in
its total land area of 298 km˛, this island country is one of the 25
least-developed countries in the world, according to a United Nations report
(NASA - April 1993).
The chain extends north-south
for approximately 880 km. The Maldives are the exposed top
of a long, narrow submarine ridge whose average height is 1 to 2 meters above
sea level. Most of the atolls have spacious, deep-water lagoons suitable for
ship anchorage, and some have freshwater lagoons.
(image left) - This south-looking, low-oblique photograph shows (from north to
south) the Ari, Male, Felidu, Nilande, Mulaku, and Kolumadulu Atolls of the
Maldives. The 19 atolls of the Maldives are composed of more than 2000 small
coral formations in the Indian Ocean southwest of India and Sri Lanka.
Central Intelligence Agency.
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