Friday, September 05, 2008

Rising sea level concern for the people of Madang in PNG

From: The National Papua New Guinea

By FRANCIS GABRIEL

THE effect of rising sea levels is now a big concern for the people of Madang, especially villages along the coastline of Siar and Bogia districts and neighbouring islands.


Villages along this coastline are fast losing their beachfronts as a result of the impact of the rising sea level, which is accompanied by huge destructive waves.
Tab Island Marine Wildlife Management Areas chairman and deputy coordinator of Madang Lagoon Locally-Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) network Tamlong Tabb said villages along the Siar seafront and neighbouring islands were now seeing the disastrous effect of global warming.
“Huge waves with extra-ordinary force are eroding stone walls that protect our beachfronts and palms, which act as windbreakers,” Mr Tabb said.
“And soon houses will be swept away and life lost if no preventive measures are taken as there is now nothing to stop the waves.
“The waves are nothing of any sort we’ve seen before,” he added.
The next continuous direct strong winds, which comes with huge destructive waves on these seafronts would see some houses having their post hanging lose, Mr Tabb said.
Facing similar fate are the people of Awar village in the Bogia district.
According to a concerned villager, the rising seas are eroding their burial grounds, leaving skeletal remains of dead people scattered everywhere.
“We are now reburying washed up remains on higher grounds,” the concerned villager told The National.
“Even though the remains of the dead are reburied, our sea, which we rely on for our everyday needs, is already polluted.”
Both concerned leaders are calling on the National Government and the Madang provincial government, through the provincial disaster and emergency services division, to carry out case studies and draw down funds to erect proper seawalls along the seafronts to prevent further erosion.
They urged the relevant bodies to fast track their concerns as time is running out.
Mr Tabb also stressed the need to build a seawall around Madang Lagoon as it is a marine protected area, “and as far as marine conservation and tourism is concerned, it should be preserved at all costs”.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sea level rise will set back poverty reduction attempts?

Contributed by Veronique Carola (Sea Level Rise Foundation)

 

Development, plus poverty reduction attempts, achieved thus far in many countries are threatened to be undone by climate changes.

In a paper published in April 2008 issue of the journal Environment and Urbanisation, ‘Climate change and Coastal Cities: the case of Mombasa, Kenya’ by authors Cynthia Awuor et al; tries to outline the best adaptation and mitigation strategies that has and could be adopted. What makes Mombasa one of the most vulnerable African city is its proximity to the coast compared to other land locked cities, the citys’ population, and the percentage of such that rely on nature for the livelihood, the authors conclude.

According to the study, in the event of a 0.3 metres sea level rise, 4’600 hectares of land area (16%) of Mombasa will be flooded. The impact of such will revert Mombasa (and Kenya in general) a few steps back in economic development from the expected stress on all aspects of the economy.

In preparation for such events, and firmly encouraged since the occurrence of the tsunami, have been the setting up of 3 different tidal gauges, the setting up of a weather observation network for the western Indian Ocean within the EEZ, analysis of Kenya’s climate change vulnerability, reforestation of degraded coastal areas to ensure a healthy 'eco-seawall' and the present formulation of an effective coastal zone management policy, amongst other exemplary initiatives.

'In view of the country’s relatively limited capacity to adapt, it is important that the issue of climate change is taken seriously and given the appropriate attention. It is also important that context-specific measures are put in place to adapt to current impacts and to mitigate against anticipated future impacts’ - the authors conclude.

 

Ref: Awuor C.B, Orindi V.A, and Adwera A.O (2008), Climate Change and Coastal Cities, Environment and Urbanisation Vol.20 No.1 Pages 231-242 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Islanders in the Sunderbans live in fear of sea level rise

From Press Trust of India - http://www.ptinews.com/

Amitava Das

Sunderbans (WB), Sept 1 (PTI) Kabita Patra and her family members at Madanganj village in Namkhana island of the Sunderbans every night go to sleep with lurking fears of getting drowned if the dykes ringing the islands get breached during high tide.


Due to global warming and consequent sea level rise all human-inhabited islands in Sunderbans, the largest deltaic region in the world, face the threat of getting submerged if the dykes are breached during high tide.


"The dykes were constructed a century ago to settle people and prevent islands from getting submerged. Now the waters rise above the dykes and inundate islands during high tide, which happens twice a day," Badal Mallick, aged 65, an island dweller says.


In August, September and November, the swelling rivers fed by monsoon rain, strong winds and rising sea level led to water overflowing the dykes of 54 human-inhabited islands of Sunderbans flooding. The floods caused damage to the standing paddy crops, releasing fish from the ponds, flattening mud houses, killing livestock and making the farmland saline by sea water.


Ocean scientists say rising sea level caused by global warming has already submerged Lohachara island and Suparibhanga or Bedford island and many more are shrinking as the rising water breaches the dykes and another dyke is built inside the previous, thus losing a part of the island.


"We've grown up seeing tides and ebbs in the rivers but now rivers rise much above the usual level and nibble at the bottom of the dykes to breach them," Kabita Patra says. PTI