Southern Huvadhu Atoll or Gaafu Dhaalu is an administrative district of the Maldives formed by the southwestern section of Huvadhu Atoll. It was created on February 8, 1962 when Huvadhu Atoll was divided into two districts. Gaafu Dhaalu corresponds to the Southwestern section of this large natural atoll, south of the line extending between the channels of Footukandu and Vaarulu Kandu. The capital of this region is Thinadhoo (formerly known as Havaru Thinadhu). There are 153 islands in this district, 10 of which are inhabited. This district is located about 340 kilometres south of the capital Malé. Independent travellers to Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll require special permission to leave the tourist zone and visit inhabited maldives islands.
Historically the Huvadu atoll chief had a great measure of self-government. He even had the privilege, not granted to any other atoll chief of the Maldives, to fly his own flag in his vessels and at his residence.
In January 1959, the three southern atolls: Huvadhu, Fuvahmulah and Addu, were involved in setting up the breakaway United Suvadive Republicwhich survived until September 1963. The name of the secessionist state was taken from the ancient name of this atoll. In some islands, like Gaddhū, there was opposition to the secession, and by means of threats and arson, the groups of people opposing the Suvadive state were forced to agree. Havaru Thinadhoo was burnt down by soldiers sent by then Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir from Malé during the secession in 1962, after which it was left uninhabited for four whole years.
The Kaadedhdhoo Domestic Airport, located on the formerly uninhabited island of Kaadedhdhoo was opened in 1993.
In 2006 the Tourism Ministry of Maldives released the island of Vatavarrehaa for tourist resort development. A 150 bed resort is planned, this is the first resort to be built in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.