Safe Islands report
The next day we traveled back to Hanimaadhoo to catch our flight, but with plenty of time to do another story. The northern airport island is considered a “safe” island, and the people from a nearby “unsafe” island called Hathifushi are being relocated here. Not only is the island threatened by climate change and the possibility of another tsunami, it is too difficult to provide adequate education and health facilities for islands with only a few hundred residents.
The government has cleared the land to build 65 new houses for 260 people on the airport island. Meanwhile, the relocated families are renting space in other people’s houses, sometimes doubling up with another family.
This man is one of the senior citizens who has been moved. The government is paying all the relocation costs and eventually will give each of the Hathifushi families the key to their new home, free of charge.
Providing safe water is another concern. Every home has a water storage tank marked “unicef,” part of a post-tsunami relief effort.