Kuna, citing warming, set to leave island life


In the mid-19th century, most of the Kuna people migrated to the San Blas islands off current-day Panama to escape flooding rivers and disease. Today, they’re planning a move back to the mainland, threatened by sea-level rise from global warming—and, some experts assert, by reef destruction the Kuna themselves have caused. For Kuna such as Kinyapïler Johnson, their low-lying island communities in recent years have become alarmingly exposed to the sea. Flooding used to be a rare occurrence in Johnson’s coral-island community of Ustu, one of 49 villages scattered over the 300 islands of the “Kuna-Yala,” a 924 square-mile (2393-sq-km) swath of islands and coastal mainland that forms the indigenous nation’s autonomous territory on Panama’s... [Log in to read more]

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