(MENAFN- The Rio Times) Climate change is reshaping Africa, especially its western coast, as rising sea levels threaten communities and heritage sites.
From Senegal to Morocco, entire neighborhoods face erosion, impacting schools, homes, and even cemeteries.
World Heritage Sites like Egypt's northern Sinai and Senegal's Sine Saloum National Park are also at risk.
A "Nature Climate Change" study reveals a grim forecast: 56 of 284 African heritage sites could be submerged within this century.
The melting of continental ice and rising sea temperatures are the culprits. In West Africa, where coastal living is prevalent, erosion and flooding present significant challenges.
Factors include sediment deficits from hydroelectric dams and mangrove swamp destruction.
Efforts to combat these threats are evident. Alexandria, Egypt, for instance, has built barriers along its coast.
Yet, the broader region still faces severe issues.
The West African Coastal Areas program focuses on mapping climate impacts, emphasizing vulnerability, adaptability, and resilience.
These low-lying, sandy coasts are particularly prone to quick flooding and erosion.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates nearly a one-meter sea level rise by 2100 if global warming reaches +4°C.
This rise endangers millions: by 2030, 108 to 116 million Africans in coastal areas will be at risk, with numbers expected to increase to 265 million by 2100.
Sea levels rise higher than the global average
Africa is experiencing rising sea levels above the global average, posing risks to health, safety, food and water security, and economic development.
Particularly vulnerable is the west coast, where cities like Saint-Louis in Senegal are already experiencing severe flooding and agricultural disruptions.
Coastal erosion in countries like Ghana and Nigeria is transforming communities and economies.
Adaptation and global mitigation efforts are crucial. These include constructing levees, beach nourishment, and supporting climate policies.
Immediate and effective responses are needed to protect Africa's people, heritage, and economies from the rising sea levels.
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