Climate Change Forcing Evacuation of Kuna Islanders

PLANS ARE well advanced for the evacuation of Garti Sugdup, one of the largest and most populous islands of the Guna Yala comarca, The move of over 1,000 people to a mainland location is because of the rising sea level, one of the consequences of climate change and global warming which also poses a threat to Panamanian coastal towns.

Scientists and environmental organizations have launched several alerts on key areas impacted by the threat problem, such as: Azuero, Veraguas, Chiriquí and Colón, reports La Prensa.
In several of the areas authorities have been obliged to prepare evacuation plans, because in the coming years marine waters will eventually cover their homes.
For Garti Sugdup, infrastructure and basic facilities such as a health center and a school are already being prepared at a mainland site says Atencio López, president of the Institute for Research and Development of Guna Yala
“We are starting to clear the ground for the move. The date is not known, but when the site is fully viable, the community will start moving, “he said.
Some residents were reluctant to leave, but because of the situation they will have no other choice.
López said was a spate of events in January and February with trade winds. “That does not happen in winter time, so it is clear that climate change is hitting us, but it is difficult to tell older generations that overnight they must leave their homes,”
Besides Garti Sugdup, plans are being prepared “for the future” for the transfer of other communities in the area as Ustupo, Playon Chico and Nula Tupe, which are subject to flooding.
For the residents the situation is viewed with concern, for the sea, one of his allies for years, is becoming a hazard.
This year MarViva presented a study on the areas in the Pacific “vulnerable” to the effects of climate change. The scientific research focused on the provinces of Chiriqui and Veraguas.
The study, prepared with financial support from the Government of Canada and the cooperation of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), raises the “urgent” need to implement adaptation measures to prevent degradation and loss of wetlands, estuaries and beaches along the costs of both provinces.
According Antonio Clemente, r MarViva geographein Panama, during the investigation the elevation above sea level in the area under study are mapped and levels of vulnerability were defined.
The data indicatesthat the coast of Chiriqui and Veraguas hosts 40% of the country’s mangroves and 30% of these are located on lands identified as “vulnerable to sea level rise.”
He said that “the risk of flooding of large areas of mangrove represents a particularly alarming loss, since most of the land adjacent to this habitat are occupied for other uses such as agriculture.”
The manager of MarViva Sciences, Juan Posada, said the study highlights the risks posed by the rise of sea level in the Gulf of Chiriquí and calls for high technology to strengthen the governance of the state.
According to Posada, with advanced technology and data from this research can address the processes linked to climate change with the increased air and surface water temperature, and a change in rainfall patterns.
It would help “reduce the vulnerability of marine habitats and coastal communities” of the Republic in the event of future disasters and weather-related incidents, he said.
Alida Spadafora, environmentalist and former director of the National Association for the Conservation of Nature, said that Panama cannot wait for the impacts of climate change to affect our society and economy. “Little has been done to plan for this problem, much less in marine coastal areas, she said.
She used as an example the area of Azuero, which she says have lost about 200 meters from beaches in recent decades by the mismanagement of natural resources.
Spadafora said the loss of islands and coasts as well as being linked to climate change is also directly linked with the little respect he has for the environment and conservation.
Stanley Heckadon Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, scientist, has conducted research from
The Punta Galeta laboratory in Colon Heckadon has conducted research and written extensively on the subject.
According to research estimates, the population of Colon, Cristóbal, Arco Iris, France Field y Coco Solo is built on coral reefs and mangroves, which means they are just above the sea level. Although several of these areas and are disrupted by flooding rains and high tides.
“If projected increases in sea level are correct, over the next 50 years many of these developments will be flooded so often that will have to be abandoned or protected by a system of levees and water pumps. In 100 years is very likely to be under the sea. ”  [NEWSROOM PANAMA]

One thought on “Climate Change Forcing Evacuation of Kuna Islanders

  1. The majority of The Netherland is below sea level. The Dutch are the experts. So a lot of work for The Dutch in the future. Dredging, dikes and very large pumping installations and
    locks will be needed to protect the land against rising sea levels and floods.

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