The Maldives consist of almost 2,000 coral islands in the Indian Ocean, of which approximately 200250 are occupied. It became an independent country in 1965, after years of Dutch and then British rule, and enjoys a relatively high standard of living primarily due to revenues from tourism and fishing. However, the islands are extremely low-lying and vulnerable to flooding if the ocean level rises due to global warming, and the country was hit hard by the 2004 tsunami, which caused 108 deaths and economic damage estimated at more $400 million.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita was estimated at $500 in 2008, with a real growth rate of 5.7 percent. Population in 2009 is estimated at just under 400,000, with 22.3 percent age 14 ...

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