The republic of the Maldives is made up of nearly 2,000 small islands in the northern Indian Ocean. The economy is dominated by fishing, which accounts for a major portion of the export trade. Shown here is a dock on Ihuru Island.
The Maldives in the Indian Ocean, like the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, is a nation made up entirely of atolls. If, as some scientists predict, global warming melts polar ice sheets and raises global sea levels, these island nations and other low-lying coastal areas could be completely submerged, their inhabitants forever exiled.