Sun, May 19, 2013 - Page 9 News List

The US’ first climate change refugees

The Yup’iks of Newtok are desperate to leave their village before rising river levels wash it away

By Suzanne Goldenberg  /  The Guardian, NEWTOK, Alaska

The young couple go through times when they cannot deal with the talk of relocation. Tom bought a big tent some time ago and the couple have talked about camping out at the site chosen for the new village, just to get away — from the stress, from the drama of village politics — until things are settled.

However, the relocation keeps being put off.

“A few years ago, they said next year. And then last year they said next year. And next year, they are probably going to say next year again,” Tom says.

However, he perks up. The village has sent local men for training as construction workers.

“It’s picking up,” he adds. “I’m not afraid any more. The erosion is really fast. I know the state is going to deal with it pretty fast. They are not going to leave us hanging there.”

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