Talk of the Day: Climate change and Mauritius
Barely noticeable on the world map, Mauritius is a small island which was once called Paradise. When Mark Twain visited our island in 1896, he said “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” You would surely like to believe that it is still a paradise, but a paradise which is and might be facing many dangers in the coming years.
Climate change comes as a threat to the world’s small island nations. Unfortunately Mauritius is also one of them, and it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up as Small Island.
The start of 2019 has been rough on our island. Heavy rainfalls which we have been experiencing since the beginning and rising sea levels are causing significant damages such as eroding shorelines and floods.
While many of us are fighting for our beaches, we are unaware that we are actually losing them. Sea level has been rising at a rate of 5.6mm/year since 2013. This is double the global average of 3.2 mm/year. Our beaches are gradually sinking below sea water. We have already lost miles of beach across our island. This shrinking coast line is affecting many of those who depend on the sea to make a living. The global rise in sea level is set to prevail in the coming years. This will no doubt have an effect on the human society and ecosystem of the Republic of Mauritius.
30 March 2013, a flash flood in Port Louis caused the entire nation to lose eleven persons, making news headlines at international level. April 1 was declared as a national mourning day. According to the latest World Risk Report, Mauritius is classified as the country with the 13th highest disaster risk and is 7th most exposed to natural hazards.
As Mauritians, we should be concerned about how we could even make it to that list. We are such a small island and even though we would like to believe that we have adapted well to climate change, the recent incidents are not proving to be even near this belief.