West indian countries

8 countries that could disappear due to climate change

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During the 20th century, global sea level rose about 7.5 inches. The UN warns it could rise another meter by the end of the 21st century. Not only is rising oceans a growing challenge for small, low-lying island states, but severe weather, including an increased frequency of unexpected storms, is beating down these already vulnerable nations and further submerging them under water. . Sea level rise and climate change are effects of global warming, mainly caused by the human hand of the most polluting countries.

Many island countries lack protection against natural disasters and share the fragility of a subsistence economy based on tourism and financial dependence on international trade. Violent natural forces also impede the development of communications and infrastructure, putting basic human survival in question. Some of the low islands of the Pacific are home to a protective barrier of coral reefs, which are rapidly thinning under the rising ocean, leaving people and land increasingly vulnerable to climate change and rising seas every day. . These eight countries are waiting helplessly for the effects of global warming, with a bleak future of being literally wiped off the map.

Marshall Islands

Aerial view of the Marshall Islands atolls.

The Republic of Marshall Islands is a very small micronesian State with an area of ​​181 square kilometers on five islands with 29 atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Captain John Marshall discovered the islands in 1788, when they only gained independence from the United States in 1990.

Currently, with its population of 60,000, some residents face imminent submergence from sea level rise that has already begun. It is most visible in some of the atolls and stretches of land swallowed by the ocean in the capital city of Majuro. It is likely that over the next century, the irrevocable consequences of global warming will threaten the very existence of the country.

Kiribati

Kiribati
Villages in Kiribati are very vulnerable to sea level rise.

The Republic of Kiribati covers three million square kilometers in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia, more than 33 coral atolls and one island. The Spaniards discovered these atolls. Later, the British ruled here, with the independent country of Kiribati not emerging until 1979.

Today, authorities in Kiribati are very concerned about rising sea levels which are slowly submerging the country’s coasts and forcing people to move. The country has an average altitude of only three meters above sea level and is already losing its villages under the rising sea. Salt water also floods the fresh water resources of the atolls, leading to crop failures. Estimates suggest that this densely populated island nation could be underwater by the end of the century, leaving behind thousands of helpless climate migrants.

Fiji

Fiji
A house in Fiji completely devastated by a cyclone. These extreme weather events combined with rising sea levels worsen the chances of survival for these nations.

The tourist paradise destination Republic of Fiji covers 1.3 million square kilometers of territory on 330 Pacific islands. The islands were originally settled by Southeast Asians, settled by Europeans in the 17th century and under British ownership until 1970 when Fiji declared independence. Fiji is bullied by a double force, slowly pushing the islands to the bottom of the ocean. Despite this, the population of the islands increased by 0.56% compared to the previous year to reach 929,766 inhabitants in 2022.

Along with rising sea levels, extreme weather is also hitting Fiji hard. Bad weather put Fiji under pity in 2009 with a rainstorm that left 19 people dead and 9,000 evacuees. Sugar cane plantations were also significantly damaged, along with infrastructure in towns that provided for tourism, significantly hampering Fiji’s other main source of income.

In 2016, Fiji was hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston, which damaged industry and left residents scrambling for food. The former home of over 100 residents, the village of Vunidogoloa is now a rainforest, with a town square covered in tropics, rotting rodents in abandoned houses and salt water seeping from the earth up 300 feet from Natewa Bay.

It was the first village to relocate to a newly built town nearby due to the effects of climate change, and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama knows it won’t be the last. He says at least 40 more villages will be forced to deal with the consequences of sea level rise in the next few years. The changing climate from intense storms and floods that have hit Fiji means the government expects to lose at least 5% of GDP assets, and more every year.

Samoa

Samoa
Tourist cottages by the sea on an island in Samoa. Tourism, a mainstay of Samoa’s economy, is under threat from rising sea levels.

The Independent State of Samoa comprises seven islands covering less than 3,000 square kilometers, with numerous surrounding coral reefs. It was colonized by Europeans in the early 18th century, along with the United States, Germanyand the UK sharing parts of the territory in the 19th century, and Samoa gaining independence from New Zealand in 1962.

Today, global warming plays a cruel card on this small country. Rising water temperatures have squandered large sections of the coral reefs here through a process called coral bleaching. The loss of these protective barriers has allowed rising seas to flood Samoa’s land, negatively affecting the country’s tourism and agriculture sectors.

solomon islands

solomon islands
Villages like the one in the image in the Solomon Islands can easily disappear during a natural disaster like a tsunami or cyclone.

The solomon islands is a vast chain of 990 islands distributed in the archipelagos of Solomon and Santa Cruz in the Indian Ocean. The islands were discovered in early 1568 by the Spanish, then owned by Britain, and gained independence in 1978. In total, they comprise some 30,000 square kilometers of scenic paradise that may soon find itself under the water.

Six islands have already sunk below the surface, and more have followed suit. Despite this, the population of the Solomon Islands has steadily increased over the years to almost 728,000 at present. The authorities are alarmed by the disappearance of the country and the future of its inhabitants, because it seems that global warming will seriously hamper their survival in the coming decades.

The Maldives

maldives coral bleaching
Coral bleaching due to sea warming in the Maldives makes the islands more susceptible to sea level rise due to the lack of the protective action of coral reefs.

The Maldives is a famous affordable tourist destination, officially known as the Republic of Maldives, with the capital Male. The nation occupies an area of ​​298 square kilometers in southern India with incredible landscapes. Few know of its rich history, having changed hands several times and shared between the Portuguese, Dutch and British until independence in 1965 while retaining the vibrant culture of each nationality.

The lower Maldives, with a maximum “peak” at 2.3 meters and “boasting” the world’s lowest average elevation of just 1.5 meters, are most at risk from rising sea levels. It is very likely that many of the 1,200 islands will soon begin to sink into the ocean, bringing to a halt the mainstay of its economy, tourism. Rising sea levels, at an alarming rate across the country, are also endangering the coastal livelihoods of the 562,335 residents and forcing many of them to relocate.

The Maldives have teamed up with another vulnerable nation, the Bahamian on an international campaign to warn others and save themselves. He focused on moral issues regarding the suffering of mostly poor nations with little hard power, which made the campaign victorious and shaped the global Paris Agreement of 2015.

tuvalu

The vulnerable island nation of Tuvalu seen from an airplane.

The small country of tuvalu is made up of four coral reefs, five atolls and three islands in the Pacific Ocean. Despite its small size, the nation is a perfect candidate to represent those who do the least harm and suffer the most. The country is one of the lowest producers of pollution in the world, is home to just over 12,000 inhabitants and is a victim of global warming caused by the highest emitting countries. Tuvalu is relatively low compared to sea level and lacks natural boundaries, making it powerless against storms and rising sea levels.

The archipelago was discovered by the Spaniards around 1568, owned by the British, and gained independence in 1978. Together with its neighbor Vanuatu, Tuvalu suffered from Hurricane Pam, which worsened its precarious situation and alarmed the government of its near survival. Indeed, the authorities are very demanding on the respect of the Kyoto protocol, accentuating the “innocence” of the island hampered by the fault of the most polluting countries.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s low altitude threatens the very existence of this island nation.

The Republic of Vanuatu is an archipelago of 12,000 square kilometers in area, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu was discovered by Spanish explorers in 1606 and gained independence from Britain and France in 1980 as a new state. According to the UN, the country holds the “world record” “most vulnerable” in terms of natural disasters. The forces of nature are constantly threatening to wipe Vanuatu off the map, making it very likely that Vanuatu’s 83 volcanic islands will soon disappear.

Cyclone Pam was responsible for the destruction of nine out of ten buildings in the capital. The high rate of cyclone formation in Vanuatu is further compounded by the main threat of rising sea levels which is accelerating the demise of the already vulnerable state. Its growing population now faces forced resettlement after a disaster proved “apocalyptic” for all.

With so many nations, human lives and well-being at risk, it is becoming clear that immediate action is needed to address these threats. However, since climate change is a global problem, every nation must make commitments and fulfill them if the problem is to be solved. Otherwise, the maps of the world will have to be constantly changed to omit nations lost at sea in the decades to come.

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