Monday, March 26, 2012

Rising tides threaten coastal Tanzanian towns

Kizito Makoye in AlertNet: Surging Indian Ocean tides have forced hundreds of people in northeast Tanzania's Pangani District to abandon their homes, as higher seas increasingly threaten settlements along East Africa's coastline.

Several towns and villages are suffering flooding and intrusions of salt water, which are damaging property and tainting clean water supplies. Scientists and government officials attribute the problem partly to climate change, but crumbling sea defences are also to blame.

The increasing disaster threat has led government officials to urge residents to move to higher ground, and to promise to repair seawalls. But the country's key tourism industry remains at risk as rising seas and worsening storm surges erode beaches and coastal infrastructure, experts say.

In Pangani Diustrict's Buyuni village, which lies just a stone's throw from the shore, over a dozen families have abandoned their homes after they were flooded by the sea and sought refuge with friends and relatives in safer areas, according to village chairman Saleh Ali....Waves have left watermarks on the walls of most of the village's brick houses, a clear indication of the threat their occupants face.

The government has blamed the effects of climate change for the rising level of the Indian Ocean, which is disrupting life in many coastal settlements - from Pemba Tanga Bagamoyo to the country's largest city, Dar es Salaam....

The harbor in Dar es Salaam, shot by Gustavgraves, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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