Environment Weather

As sea swells recede, new islet rises in Addu

Following weeks of storm surges and sea swells across the 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.

Members of Nalafehi Meedhoo plant palms and magoo in the new 'huraagandu' or islet formed near Ismehela Hera in Addu Atoll, in the wake of a spell of storm surges in mid-July 2020. PHOTO/NALAFEHI MEEDHOO

Members of Nalafehi Meedhoo plant palms and magoo in the new ‘huraagandu’ or islet formed near Ismehela Hera in Addu Atoll, in the wake of a spell of storm surges in mid-July 2020. PHOTO/NALAFEHI MEEDHOO

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).

Members of Nalafehi Meedhoo plant palms and magoo in the new 'huraagandu' or islet formed near Ismehela Hera in Addu Atoll, in the wake of a spell of storm surges in mid-July 2020. PHOTO/NALAFEHI MEEDHOO

Members of Nalafehi Meedhoo plant palms and magoo in the new ‘huraagandu’ or islet formed near Ismehela Hera in Addu Atoll, in the wake of a spell of storm surges in mid-July 2020. PHOTO/NALAFEHI MEEDHOO

“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.

Palms and magoo planted in sand sacks on the new 'huraagandu' or islet formed near Ismehela Hera in Addu Atoll, in the wake of a spell of storm surges in mid-July 2020. PHOTO/NALAFEHI MEEDHOO

Palms and magoo planted in sand sacks on the new ‘huraagandu’ or islet formed near Ismehela Hera in Addu Atoll, in the wake of a spell of storm surges in mid-July 2020. PHOTO/NALAFEHI MEEDHOO

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 the Maldives is the island of Udhafushi in Kaafu Atoll, which was first formed as a ‘huraagandu’ after severe sea swells in 1987.

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Source URL: Google News

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