Jim McMahon/Mapman®

With its sandy beaches and clear waters, the Maldives might seem like paradise. But the country in the Indian Ocean has a big problem. It’s slowly being swallowed by the sea. 

The Maldives is made up of about 1,200 islands. They are only a few feet above sea level. Worldwide, sea levels are slowly rising because of climate change. The Maldives have seen more flooding as a result. Experts predict that most of the country could be underwater by 2050. Many people will have to leave their homes.

The Maldivian government has a plan to house about 20,000 people. It’s building the world’s first floating city.

The Maldives Floating City will be a maze of floating units anchored to surrounding islands. Like other cities, it will have shops, restaurants, and a school.  

Construction of the city will start in January. It is expected to take four to five years to finish. Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed is hopeful that the new floating city will help his country. 

“We cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them,” he said in a statement.