Thai town goes under water as sea levels rise

Global Business

Thai town goes under water as sea levels rise

There are predictions melting ice could raise sea levels by a meter by the end of the century, forcing millions of people to seek higher ground.

That could mean disaster for low-lying countries like Thailand. CCTV’s Martin Lowe reports on one village that’s already lost the battle against an advancing ocean.

Follow Martin Lowe on Twitter @MartinLoweTV

Thai town goes under water as sea levels rise

Thai town goes under water as sea levels rise

There are predictions melting ice could raise sea levels by a meter by the end of the century, forcing millions of people to seek higher ground. That could mean disaster for low-lying countries like Thailand. CCTV’s Martin Lowe reports on one village that’s already lost the battle against an advancing ocean.

There’s only one way to reach Wat Khun Samut Cheen. The Buddhist temple is now an island.

Once, it was the center of a thriving village on Thailand’s central coast but the rest of Samut Cheen has been drowned by the sea.

Homes and farms have disappeared as sea levels have risen. Electricity poles poke out of the water where the road used to be.

Old video shows homes being broken up by the waves, and the temple awash. Today, a handful of monks still live there and keeping the temple alive as a place of worship.

The temple floor has been repeatedly raised; it’s now two meters higher than before. Water damage is plain to see, but the Buddhist artifacts survive.

Those living here have had to move their homes inland many times. To reach them, you have to cross a series of rickety wooden bridges.

Scientists say the sea has risen more than two meters, and forced its way over a kilometer inland, over the past 30 years.

A combination of climate change and land subsidence has made coastal erosion at the top of the Gulf of Thailand amongst the worst in the world. Sea levels there are rising at between five and 10-time the global average.

It’s quite shocking to think an entire village has been completely submerged by the sea. But perhaps even more alarming is the fact that Thailand’s capital Bangkok which itself is only one-and-a-half meters above sea-level – stands just 50 kilometers inland from where we are now.

Some argue climate change remains unproven. But at Samut Cheen they’re not interested in debate; they’re too busy trying to hold back the sea.