US first climate change refugees

It is a small Alaskan village whose inhabitants have relied on the sea for countless generations.
But within a decade, it is expected that the ocean which the village of Kivalina has so relied on will completely destroy it - creating America’s first climate change refugees.
Temperatures in the Arctic region of Alaska are warming twice as fast as the rest of the U.S, causing ice to retreat, sea levels to rise and coastal erosion to increase.
The 400 indigenous Inuit inhabitants of Kivalina, who live in single-storey cabins, have always been protected from the ferocious autumn and winter storms by a think layer of ice.
But, as reported by the BBC, during the last two decades there has been a huge retreat of Arctic ice, leaving the village vulnerable to coastal erosion.
The U.S government has attempted to help, but its solutions have never been long-term. A defensive wall was built along the beach in 2008. However, it could not prevent an emergency evacuation two years ago following an enormous storm. Now, engineers predict the 7.5 mile-long barrier island will be uninhabitable by 2025, completely submerged by the surrounding Chukchi Sea.
The U.S government estimates that it would cost up to $400, (£265m) to relocate the residents to higher ground.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt