Maldives Hires Jan De Nul To Reclaim Land
After a Belgian dredging company failed to uphold their end of a contract, Maldivian real-estate company Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has decided to award another Belgian group, Jan De Nul, the task of reclaiming an additional 230 hectares of land to the artificially-made island of Hulhumale.
The switch comes days after the Supreme Court in the Maldives annulled a decision that would have reinstated President Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed is famous for bringing the world's attention to the plight of the Maldives by hosting the first underwater cabinet meeting off the island of Girifushi in 2009 to demonstrate the Maldives' potential for becoming overwhelmed by sea level rise in the coming decades.
Construction on the island of Hulhumale began in 1997 as a means of retaliation against the rising seas. Led by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as a way to reduce urban congestion in the city's capital of Male, located just off the coast, Hulhumale is considered a decisive step towards fixing the perverse overcrowding in Male and revitalizing the Maldivian economy. With a population of 110,000, Male is known as the most densely populated land on earth.
At the moment, Hulhumale boasts a population of 12,000 but by its projected completion in 2020 it is expected to house 160,000 Maldivian citizens, or a third of the country's current population.
Jan De Nul Group is no stranger to massive reclamation projects. They are most notably known for their work dredging and designing Palm Island in Dubai, considered the world's largest artificial island.