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Maldives islands covered by water

From Journalist Iqbal Athas in Colombo, Sri Lanka


(CNN) -- Massive waves triggered by a powerful earthquake temporarily covered several inhabited islands in the low-lying Maldives archipelago, south of India, according to the country's Foreign Minister Fathulla Jamil.

At least three children were killed in the high waters on an island north of the capital, Male. However an accurate death toll has not been assessed because communications to the outlying islands have been cut off, Jamil said.

A retaining wall in Male collapsed in the massive waves, causing damage to high-rise buildings. Tourists are stranded on the beach with no food because the resort hotels -- which normally rely on generators -- have no power.

The Maldives consists of nearly 2,000 islands, of which 200 are inhabited. It is a popular tourist destination for European travelers.

Jamil said the islands north of the capital were the worst hit.

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