Relocation of Gardi Sugdub Families Due to Rising Sea Levels

Relocation of Gardi Sugdub Families Due to Rising Sea Levels

In June, approximately 300 families were relocated from Gardi Sugdub in Panama’s Guna Yala province due to escalating concerns over rising sea levels. The relocation aimed to mitigate the risks posed by frequent flooding of houses and streets by seawater, exacerbated during November and December each year despite local efforts to fortify the island’s periphery with natural barriers like rocks and coral.

Vulnerability and Threats

Small island developing states (SIDS) across the Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea face existential threats due to rising oceans. These nations, characterized by low elevation and high dependency on marine resources, are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, which is currently increasing at an average rate of 3 to 4 millimeters per year in the Caribbean and is expected to accelerate to 1 centimeter per year or more by 2100 due to global warming.

Affected Nations

Countries like Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Kiribati are witnessing severe impacts of rising sea levels, including land loss, coastal erosion, salinization of freshwater, and heightened vulnerability to extreme weather events such as storm surges and ‘king tides’.

Global Sea Level Rise and Climate Change

Since 1880, global sea levels have risen by approximately 21–24 centimeters, driven primarily by factors like thermal expansion of seawater and the melting of land-based ice. This trend has accelerated in recent decades, posing significant challenges to vulnerable coastal regions and countries in the Global South.

Cultural and Human Impacts

The relocation of Guna families from Gardi Sugdub underscores not only environmental challenges but also cultural disruptions. The Guna people, renowned for their vibrant molas (intricately sewn textiles), face threats to their cultural identity as they adapt to new environments that may not sustain their traditional practices.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:

  1. What was the primary reason for relocating families from Gardi Sugdub in Panama?
    • A) Economic development
    • B) Cultural preservation
    • C) Rising sea levels
    • D) Political unrest
    • Answer: C) Rising sea levels
  2. Which group of nations is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels due to their low elevation and dependence on marine resources?
    • A) European Union countries
    • B) Small island developing states (SIDS)
    • C) African Union countries
    • D) BRICS nations
    • Answer: B) Small island developing states (SIDS)
  3. What are some impacts of rising sea levels on SIDS?
    • A) Increased agricultural productivity
    • B) Reduced coastal erosion
    • C) Salinization of freshwater resources
    • D) Decreased vulnerability to extreme weather events
    • Answer: C) Salinization of freshwater resources
  4. Since 1880, how much has the global sea level risen on average?
    • A) 5–10 centimeters
    • B) 11–15 centimeters
    • C) 16–20 centimeters
    • D) 21–24 centimeters
    • Answer: D) 21–24 centimeters
  5. What are the primary drivers of global sea level rise?
    • A) Volcanic activity and solar radiation
    • B) Deforestation and urbanization
    • C) Thermal expansion of seawater and melting of land-based ice
    • D) Ocean currents and wind patterns
    • Answer: C) Thermal expansion of seawater and melting of land-based ice