The Maldives is an archipelago of islands which are in reality the tops of a vast undersea mountain range. It encompasses a territory spread over roughly 54,000 square mi., making it one of the most dispersed countries in the world geographically. It has 1,192 islands, of which 200 are inhabited. It is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the lowest country on the planet. It is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in) The Maldives sinking due to global warming is a great concern for the Maldivian people.