An international purchase agreement revealed yesterday that the low-lying island nation of the Maldives has ordered an extremely large number of sandbags from multiple companies in the United States and Europe. A representative of the Maldives government responded to an e-mail question of what the bags are for as follows: “We are expecting a bit of flooding.”
Although it was not immediately clear precisely how many sandbags were ordered due to the complicated nature of the agreement and the number of companies involved, a representative of one such company in Texas said they alone had an order from the Maldives for a “shit-ton” of sandbags. It is unclear if that is an English shit-ton or a metric shit-ton, also spelled shytte-tonne.
With an average elevation of only six feet above sea level, the Maldives could be thinking of holding back rising sea levels on a nationwide scale. The country has 1,192 islands, so analysts say the sandbag idea is completely feasible.
A call placed to the government of Vanuatu, another low-lying island nation that could be threatened by sea level rise in the coming decades, revealed that the Maldives’ approach may be novel. “Wait, would that work?” said the Vanuatu representative before quickly hanging up.
Several months ago the Maldives held a parliament meeting under water in SCUBA gear to call attention to the country’s plight. The country’s vice president, Mohammad Waheed Hassan, said that the underwater meeting “sucked,” and he would rather “just sandbag the crap out of this place” than do that again.