| ||The capital of the Maldives Republic, Malé, is located at the junction of two atolls and concentrates the country’s political, administrative, economic, and cultural functions on 0.6 mi 2 (1.5 km2). The city is home to little more than a fourth of all Maldivians, about 70,000 inhabitants. Malé is protected on all sides from rising sea levels by jetties, built with the technical and financial assistance of Japan. While the atoll’s culminating point is 13 ft (4 m) above sea level, 80 percent of the islands are only 3 feet above that level, and experts estimate that the Maldives are threatened in the short term. But even before being submerged, the Maldives will have to face other problems caused by increasing air and sea temperatures: acceleration of coastal erosion, disruption of marine fauna and flora, and salinization of groundwater. Fishing and tourism, the country’s two essential sources of revenue, will come to an end. Though they only contribute 0.001 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the Maldives will be one of the first countries affected by a rise in sea levels.
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