Following weeks of storm surges and sea swells across Maldives in mid-July, the people of southernmost Addu Atoll were excited to discover a newly formed islet this week
Following weeks of storm surges and sea swells across Maldives in mid-July, the people of southernmost Addu Atoll were excited to discover a newly formed islet this week. The islet or 'huraagandu' in local Dhivehi language, located near Ismehela Hera, was first observed by the residents of nearby Hulhumeedhoo.
Speaking to The Edition, Ali Wafir of local NGO 'Nalafehi Meedhoo' stated that the islet was estimated to be over 3,000 feet or a kilometre long and between 20 to 25 feet in width, with an average height of eight feet above sea level.
"It is made up mainly of rocks, 'akiri' and 'hathaa' (coral and porous coral stone) deposited during the storm surges", he added.
Wafir revealed that a team from Nalafehi Meedhoo visited the islet this week in order to plant palm trees and Magoo (Sea Lettuce).
"We planted around 10 coconut palms and Magoo seeds in sacks of sand, to see if they would take and perhaps turn the 'huraagandu' into a [fully fledged] island", he explained, referring to the phenomenon in which vegetation naturally begin to grow on similar landmasses over time to form larger islands.
Although the new islet has been brought to the attention of Addu City Council, it is yet to be officially recognised and named.
"Among ourselves, we (from Nalafehi Meedhoo) call it 'Gauhera'", said Wafir.
The formation of 'huraagandu' or sandbanks is a natural phenomenon in the wake of tidal waves and storm surges that deposit rocks and coral. A notable example in Maldives is the island of Udhafushi in Kaafu Atoll, which was first formed as a 'huraagandu' after severe sea swells in 1987.