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Buildings in Myanmar that sit right in front of water.
Photo by Dinis Bazgutdinov on Unsplash
Environment

Rising Sea Levels Are Displacing Villagers in Myanmar

Why Global Citizens Should Care
This story captures how climate change will affect vulnerable populations in developing nations, and why the United Nations has named climate action one of its global goals for eradicating poverty. You can join us in taking action on this and related issues here.

Millions of people in Myanmar are threatened by flooding and rapid soil erosion caused by rising sea levels, according to Reuters.

About 2.5 million people along the coastline will be affected by sea level rise, Myint Thein, a member of Myanmar’s natural water resources committee, told Reuters.

One village of 1,500 residents, Tar Dar U, had to relocate entirely, moving further inland to escape the rising water, and abandoning farmland in the process.

"Where we now see water, our farming land used to be," farmer Tint Khaing told Reuters. "It was very big, nearly three hours’ walking distance. We all lost our farmland to the sea."

Many of the village’s children now have to walk hours to school, and some of the displaced persons have had to seek out new occupations after their lands were contaminated by saltwater.

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Over the past four years, 10 villages have been lost due to rapid soil erosion, Jos van der Zanden, the chief technical adviser to the Gulf of Mottama Project, an organization that aids displaced persons, told Reuters.

Sea levels are projected to continue rising well into the future, and communities such as these farmers in Myanmar will be especially vulnerable to the effects.

Seal level rise alone could displace as many as 187 million people worldwide by the year 2100, Business Reporter reported.

As many as 2 billion people could be displaced by the year 2100 because of climate change.

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Climate change will disproportionately affect the world’s most vulnerable populations, by driving displacement, food and water shortages, and endangering livelihoods.

The Pacific Island Nations have declared a climate crisis, for example.

At the same time, climate change has been primarily driven by wealthy countries such as the United States, which makes it all the more imperative for programs like the Green Climate Fund, which seeks to address climate inequalities, to be funded.