Turning the tide

Of the 33 major deltas in the world, 24 are sinking as a result of land subsidence and rising sea levels, and 28 have experienced severe flooding in recent years.

In Asia coastal villages are being abandoned as people move further inland. Climate change is compounding these risk factors.

Global delta flooding could increase by 50 percent by the end of the century

In coastal Thailand, the Buddhist temple Wat Khun Samut is slowly sinking below sea level. Local workers are building a brick wall around the temple - it's a race against time and there is little money. But Abbot Smonuk Attipanyo is not willing to surrender. "If I quit defending the temple and leave, all the work that has been done will be lost forever", he says in an Al Jazeera report. The local fish farmers have moved two kilometres inland their houses have been destroyed and electricity pylons mark the location of a flooded road. Here, coastal erosion is a result of climate change that brings rougher seas, with intensified waves causing severe flooding. All along the 600-kilometre Thai coastline, land is being lost to the sea. Breakwaters and pylons have been constructed to weaken the power of the waves, but this will probably not be enough for local fishermen. They fear they will have to move even further inland read more »

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Article information

This is an abstract of an article, published in the magazine Deltas in times of climate change.

Author of this article
Michel Verschoor

Video & audio

Climate adaptation in the village of Rejorsori
Members of a coast community on the north coast of Java learn to adapt to environmental change, including sea level rise, land subsidence and the impact of climate change.
Watch the video »

You can find audio tapes of the conference Deltas in times of climate change on the website of the conference.


Dr Sinite Yu
Taiwan International Institute for Water Education

Dr Jan Vermaat
Institute for Environmental Studies