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Mangroves move inland as seas rise

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Battering waves evoke a protest

July 05, 2007

Battering waves bit off a large portion of the beach road at Sanghumugham on Wednesday after which panic-stricken local people set up road-blocks demanding prompt government action. Over the past few days, the waves had swallowed the Sanghumugham beach and half of the west lane of the road, forcing the authorities to fence off the side adjacent to the sea. “This is the first time in years that the sea has pushed its way in so much.” The large fishing craft, usually rested on the beach, have been dragged well inland, for fear of the sea lapping them up. Some have been dragged further inland, even up to the compound of a nearby Church. A huge concrete pipe, part of a sewerage until Wednesday morning, lies half in the waves. The beach is completely gone, and the sea has now come up to the road. Only a few feet on the other side, are houses and shops. Further south, beyond the road, the situation is worse. “There, houses are flush against the sea. We’ve moved several families to the relief camps. One two-storeyed house developed a large crack today.” But some families have simply refused to move, on the vague hope that the sea would not come further. “They keep vigil throughout the night."

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