Shrinking coastline

Published: Friday 31 May 2002

-- Suriname's northwest district of Coronie is threatened by encroaching Atlantic waves that have created a saltwater swamp. Swampwaters are starting to eat into the main road through Totness, the district capital. It is the only paved road running east-west across the South American country, along the coastline where most of Suriname's 434,000 people are densely packed. People fear that they could lose their crop if the sea water crosses the road and floods their land.

Erosion, floods, rising sea levels, changing wind patterns and soil damage by cultivation have contributed to the current situation. The heaviest erosion has been 25 kilometres east and west of Totness. At this rate, Totness and other residential areas in Coronie will be wiped out in 20 years.

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