The Maldives is a chain of 1,190 small coral islands stretching across the equator to the south west of Sri Lanka. The 1,190 islands form an archipelago of 26 natural atolls, which for administrative purposes have been divided into 20 administrative atolls.
||The archipelago covers an area of about 118,000 sq km of sea, with a total land area of approximately 298 sq km. The atolls stretch in a north – south direction for about 764 kilometers, and spread to 128 kilometers at the widest point. The equator cuts across the country between the southernmost atolls, laying Addu and Fuamulaku to the south and Huvadhu Atoll to the north.
The islands that make up the Maldives are very small, with only a few of the islands having an area of more than 2 sq. kms. These islands also barely rise more than 6 feet above the sea level and are thus prone to erosion by the sea.
The possibility of rising sea levels due to the phenomenon of global warming pose particular risk to the islands of the Maldives.