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4/11/2007

Sea’s Rise in India Buries Islands and a Way of Life

Photo Above: A landscape of Ghoramara Island, seen during low tide, on the sea side of an embankment that is all that stands between the residents and the rising waters that threaten their homes. J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times


Breaking Earth News
GHORAMARA ISLAND, India — Shyamal Mandal lives at the edge of ruin.
In front of his small mud house lies the wreckage of what was once his village on this fragile delta island near the Bay of Bengal. Half of it has sunk into the river.
Only a handful of families still hang on so close to the water, and those that do are surrounded by reminders of inexorable destruction: an abandoned half-broken canoe, a coconut palm teetering on a cliff, the gouged-out remnants of a family’s fish pond.
All that stands between Mr. Mandal’s home and the water is a rudimentary mud embankment, and there is no telling, he confessed, when it, too, may fall away. “What will happen next, we don’t know,” he said, summing up his only certainty.
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