Author: Anastasia Moloney

'Slow-motion disaster': Panama's Indigenous leave home as sea levels rise

Source(s): Context


Rising ocean levels caused by global warming and decades of coral reef destruction have combined with seasonal rains and more severe storms to submerge the island for days on end.


When they do relocate, they would be the first Indigenous people in Panama to leave their island homes, according to the Guna, as part of a project funded by the Panamanian government.


Rising sea levels threaten about a tenth of the world's population, in particular people living in low-lying coastal areas and small island nations in the Caribbean, Maldives and Asia-Pacific, according to climate scientists.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, sea levels in the region continue to rise at a faster rate than globally, at an average rate of 3.52 millimetres per year from 1993 to 2021, according to a 2022 report by the World Meteorological Organization.


"Our leaders have told us we need to go. We're used to the flooding but it has got worse so it's a good idea we're moving because it's better to be prepared as the island will probably be eaten by the sea in about 50 years' time," said Montalla.


Explore further

Hazards Flood
Country and region Panama
Share this

Please note: Content is displayed as last posted by a PreventionWeb community member or editor. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of UNDRR, PreventionWeb, or its sponsors. See our terms of use

Is this page useful?

Yes No
Report an issue on this page

Thank you. If you have 2 minutes, we would benefit from additional feedback (link opens in a new window).