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Page added on March 30, 2008

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Thai temple fights off encroaching tide as world sea levels rise

Crabs scuttle across the wet floor of the near-deserted Khun Samut temple, the only building left in a Thai village that has disappeared beneath the rising and advancing sea.

Waging a battle against an encroaching tide that has sent all the villagers fleeing inland, a monk in orange robes and faded tattoos meant to ward off evil spirits stalks the newly-built sea wall, planting mangrove shoots.
Somnuek Atipanya points 20 metres (65 feet) out to sea, where electricity pylons poke out of the water, now useful only for resting marine birds.


“The waves attacked here and they will destroy everything,” says Somnuek, chief abbot of this Buddhist temple south of Bangkok which is surrounded by water and accessible only by a concrete walkway.


“I don’t know what happened, but when the experts came they told me it was global warning and melting ice in the North Pole.”


Over 30 years, the sea around Khun Samut Chin village has engulfed more than one kilometre (0.6 miles) of land, World Bank figures show, mostly because fishermen have cut down mangrove forests — the Earth’s natural sea barrier.


Tourism development, sand mining and damming rivers upstream have also taken their toll in an area naturally prone to coastal erosion.


The community have realised their errors and are trying to replant the mangroves, but the situation may soon be out of their hands as global warming sends sea levels rising and powerful storms lashing the coast.


Yahoo!



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