Sunday, March 15, 2009

Will Regionalization Reverse the Trend of in-Migration? (2)

Follow up to article of same title published in February 2009.

Fehendhoo joins the migration queue
The original article argued that most of the roughly 30 islands that have populations below 250, would soon request for relocation. The reason put forward was that when the population falls below a certain critical level (probably 250 in the Maldives context) basic services become unsustainable even with subsidization. When that happens the islanders would request for relocation. Fehendhoo, South Maalhosmadulu Atoll, is the latest island to join the migration queue.

Island populations nose-diving
At the time of the latest Census in 2006, Fehendhoo had 114 people living on the island. The number has now declined to 64 in just three years. (This figure must not be confused with the registered population of 206, most of who live in Male). This shows that the population figures of small islands are trapped in a death spiral.

No basic services
According to Haveeru Daily 43 households in the island have requested for relocation to Gan, Haddhunmathi Atoll. It’s not difficult to guess that most of these 43 households would comprise just one person, probably over 65. The reasons put forward for relocation are the usual: lack of development opportunities, lack of education. Last year the island school closed because there were no students.

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