Monday, January 7, 2008

Arctic Alaska villages caught in slow-motion disaster onslaught


GLOBAL WARMING: Spiraling costs to move imperiled coastal communities pit needs against limited resources.

By BETH BRAGG
bbragg@adn.com

Published: October 22, 2007
Last Modified: October 22, 2007 at 01:23 PM

The cost of relocating villages that face extinction in the next decade or so -- sooner if the wrong storm hits the wrong place at the wrong time -- is staggering. Even by Alaska standards.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
• Moving Newtok, a Bering Sea coast town of 315 being squished and swamped by two rivers, could cost as much as $130 million. Or $412,000 per person.

• Moving Shishmaref, a strip of sand in the Chukchi Sea that's home to about 600 people, could cost as much as $200 million. Or $330,000 per person.

• Moving Kivalina, a shrinking barrier island in the Chukchi that last month saw most of its 380 residents run for safety from the season's first storm, could cost as much as $125 million. Or $330,000 per person.

Meanwhile, millions more are needed to protect people and facilities threatened by catastrophic erosion until they move.

Where will all the money come from?

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