Saturday, February 1, 2014

Nile Delta disappearing beneath the sea

IPS: …Spread over 25,000 kilometres, the densely populated Nile Delta is the breadbasket of Egypt, accounting for two-thirds of the country’s agricultural production and home to 40 million people. Its northern flank, running 240 kilometres from Alexandria to Port Said, is one of the most vulnerable coastlines in the world, facing the triple threat of coastal erosion, saltwater infiltration, and rising sea levels.

According to Khaled Ouda, a geologist at Assiut University, a 30 centimetres rise in sea level would inundate 6,000 square kilometres of the Nile Delta. The flooding would create islands out of an additional 2,000 square kilometres of elevated land, isolating towns, roads, fields, and industrial facilities.

“The total (area of the Delta) expected to be impacted by a rising of the sea level by one metre during this century will be 8,033 square kilometres, which is nearly 33 percent of the total area of the Nile Delta,” Ouda told IPS.

In a report released last September, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a sea level rise of 28 to 98 centimetres by 2100, more than twice its 2007 projections. Even by the most conservative estimate, this would destroy 12.5 percent of Egypt’s cultivated areas and displace about eight million people, or nearly 10 percent of the population…..

NASA image of the Nile Delta

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