Photos show Senegal neighborhood disappearing as sea levels rise

World

By Danielle Paquette | Nov 8, 2021

The coastal city of Saint-Louis in northern Senegal is on the front lines of climate change: The creeping ocean collides with home after home on the shore — sometimes pouring through windows as people sleep.

The highest point in the city of roughly 250,000 stands just 13 feet above sea level.

Leo Correa/AP

As the planet warms and ice melts, global sea levels are projected to rise, threatening coastal communities worldwide.

Saint-Louis, which sits on the mouth of the Senegal River, endures surges of both salt water and fresh water. Schools, homes and mosques have been destroyed by the rising waves.

Leo Correa/AP

Houses between the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean in Saint-Louis face a dire threat in rising sea levels.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

This drone image shows the remains of a school, destroyed by waves in Saint-Louis.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

A man walks past houses that have been affected by waves and erosion.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Approximately 200 million people around the globe could be uprooted by 2050 as a result of shoreline erosion and flooding, the United Nations has forecast. The problem is expected to be especially dire in West Africa, where 80 percent of the population lives on the Atlantic coast. In Saint-Louis, local officials warn that some 15,000 people will have to move in the coming years. More than 1,500 already live at an inland displacement camp.

Leo Correa/AP

Mar Diop, 70, corrals his goats in an area of his house that once had five rooms. These structures were destroyed by erosion and waves.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Structures destroyed by rising waters at the mouth of the Senegal River, outside Saint-Louis.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Fishing is one of the main industries in Saint-Louis, and many fishermen have been forced to relocate far from the seaside. Many families have swapped their beachfront properties for small, cramped homes with blue roofs.

Leo Correa/AP

This drone image shows a camp for internally displaced people who lost their coastal homes to erosion in Saint-Louis.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

A young girl fills water containers at a camp for those internally displaced by rising waters in Saint-Louis.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Children play after school at a camp for internally displaced people who lost their homes to coastal erosion in Saint-Louis.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

Unique history is also on the verge of vanishing. Founded in the 17th century, Saint-Louis, the former colonial capital of French West Africa, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site. The vibrant architecture and the annual jazz festival are a draw for tourists.

Leo Correa/AP

The city is scrambling to build a sea wall. The threat continues to grow year after year. Sea levels on West Africa’s coast are expected to rise by up to 4 millimeters annually, slightly above the global average.

Leo Correa/AP

Leo Correa/AP

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Editing by Reem Akkad and Olivier Laurent

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