Panama evacuating densely-populated islands as sea levels rise

Gardi Sugdub, population 1,171, is a densely-populated island off the coast of Panama. Facing the prospect of catastrophic inundation, the government is eminent-domaining the whole thing and evacuating the inhabitants. The cost: $1.2bn, though that will cover costs for the rest of the archipelago.

Every year, especially when the strong winds whip up the sea in November and December, water fills the streets and enters the homes. Climate change isn't only leading to a rise in sea levels, but it's also warming oceans and thereby powering stronger storms.

The Gunas have tried to reinforce the island's edge with rocks, pilings and coral, but seawater keeps coming.

"Lately, I've seen that climate change has had a major impact," Morales said. "Now the tide comes to a level it didn't before, and the heat is unbearable."

Seeing these islands from space is quite something! Cities at sea. But not for much longer.

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