The Republic of Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1190 coral islands, out of which about 200 islands are inhabited. The total area including sea and land is about 90,000km2 and an estimated reef area of approximately 9000 km2. The dry land (all coralline islands) is approximately 300km. The length of the archipelago is some 823km, while it is 130 km at its greatest width. These small low-lying islands are formed into 26 natural atolls. The government has divided these natural atolls in to 19 atolls for the ease of administration. The nearest neighboring country is India, 600 km NE of Maldives. The common features of the islands are tall coconut palms, white sandy beaches and crystal clear lagoons.