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The village has lost 762 to 914 meters of land to coastal erosion in the past 35 years.
The village has lost 762 to 914 meters of land to coastal erosion in the past 35 years.

Alaska Town Votes on Relocating Over Climate Change

Alaska Town Votes on Relocating Over Climate Change

Residents of a coastal village in Alaska being threatened by rising sea levels and thawing permafrost voted on Tuesday on whether they should relocate to a new area.
Shishmaref, Alaska, is home to 650 people, mostly members of the Inupiat Inuit tribe. The city clerk said the results were due out on Wednesday and if the vote is in favor of leaving, the town’s new location will be decided at a later town meeting.
It is estimated to cost $180 million for the village to move. Shishmaref is built on a barrier island north of the Bering Strait and once was protected by sea ice, which is now melting and putting the village in danger; sea walls and barricades are not doing much to keep the waves at bay, Theweek.com reports.
In 2015, Arctic youth ambassador, Esau Sinnok, a native of Shishmaref, wrote that over the past 35 years, the village has lost 2,500 to 3,000 feet (762 to 914 meters) of land to coastal erosion.
Sinnok also said that in the last 15 years, his family has had to move to 13 different houses, moving from one end of the island to the other, in order to avoid the rising water. In addition to Shishmaref, the US Government Accountability Office found 30 other villages are facing “imminent threats” from flooding and coastal erosion.

 

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