Photos: Rising seas signal early end for sinking Philippine village

Sitio Pariahan an island community north of Manila, is sinking about 1.5 inches every year, owing largely to land subsidence from the population's overuse of groundwater. What is being projected 50 years from now or 100 years from now for many parts of the globe happening right now at even faster rates on this sinking island. Rising sea levels caused by global warming could soon make this village unliveable, a problem faced by other countries in Asia, where the poorest communities are worst hit.

Updated On Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST
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Bamboo huts are risen on stilts in the submerged coastal island Sitio Pariahan, Bulakan, Bulacan, north of Manila, Philippines. Sitio Pariahan, about 17 km north of Manila, is sinking about 4 cm (1.5 inches) every year, owing largely to land subsidence from the population’s overuse of groundwater, according to experts. (REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Bamboo huts are risen on stilts in the submerged coastal island Sitio Pariahan, Bulakan, Bulacan, north of Manila, Philippines. Sitio Pariahan, about 17 km north of Manila, is sinking about 4 cm (1.5 inches) every year, owing largely to land subsidence from the population’s overuse of groundwater, according to experts. (REUTERS)

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Danica Martinez, 16, shields her face away from the sun as she travels home from school by boat. Danica grew up in a house that grows taller every few years. Her father raises the stilts of their bamboo hut so water from the sea doesn’t reach the floor. They live in Sitio Pariahan, a coastal village in the Philippines that was once an island, and is now without land. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Danica Martinez, 16, shields her face away from the sun as she travels home from school by boat. Danica grew up in a house that grows taller every few years. Her father raises the stilts of their bamboo hut so water from the sea doesn’t reach the floor. They live in Sitio Pariahan, a coastal village in the Philippines that was once an island, and is now without land. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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DJ Martinez, 12, pumps water from a well. Now rising sea levels caused by global warming could soon make this village unliveable, a problem faced by other countries in Asia, where the poorest communities are hardest hit. This deep well is the only source of water, and residents use it to bathe, clean, cook and, sometimes, even to drink. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

DJ Martinez, 12, pumps water from a well. Now rising sea levels caused by global warming could soon make this village unliveable, a problem faced by other countries in Asia, where the poorest communities are hardest hit. This deep well is the only source of water, and residents use it to bathe, clean, cook and, sometimes, even to drink. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Residents socialise outside of their bamboo huts. Solar panels are installed on many rooftops for electricity, mostly to watch television that’s shared between neighbours. On days that power is low, residents pass the time by gambling. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Residents socialise outside of their bamboo huts. Solar panels are installed on many rooftops for electricity, mostly to watch television that’s shared between neighbours. On days that power is low, residents pass the time by gambling. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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A church caretaker cleans a crucifix in the church at Sitio Pariahan. Danica remembers their village wasn’t always like this. She recalls basketball tournaments and grand feasts so popular that visitors from nearby towns would flock to watch performances, and celebrate mass at the church. The court is now fully submerged, and the church once filled with devotees is stained with moss. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

A church caretaker cleans a crucifix in the church at Sitio Pariahan. Danica remembers their village wasn’t always like this. She recalls basketball tournaments and grand feasts so popular that visitors from nearby towns would flock to watch performances, and celebrate mass at the church. The court is now fully submerged, and the church once filled with devotees is stained with moss. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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The Martinez family spend time together on the roof of their bamboo hut. Much of the destruction happened when Typhoon Nesat struck in 2011, bringing waves Danica said were as big as houses. She saw how the huts were pulled into the sea, one by one, as she and her siblings held onto bamboo poles. Their school was also destroyed, and left only with walls. More than 50 families left and never returned. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

The Martinez family spend time together on the roof of their bamboo hut. Much of the destruction happened when Typhoon Nesat struck in 2011, bringing waves Danica said were as big as houses. She saw how the huts were pulled into the sea, one by one, as she and her siblings held onto bamboo poles. Their school was also destroyed, and left only with walls. More than 50 families left and never returned. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Domingo Martinez, 40, drives his daughters Danica, 16, and Cindy, 14, to school on his boat, in a nearby town in Bulakan. Danica and her siblings take this 30-minute boat ride to school, sometimes with uniforms drenched by big waves. “It seems scary to look at, but you get used to living like this,” she said. “It’s difficult, but also fun.” (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Domingo Martinez, 40, drives his daughters Danica, 16, and Cindy, 14, to school on his boat, in a nearby town in Bulakan. Danica and her siblings take this 30-minute boat ride to school, sometimes with uniforms drenched by big waves. “It seems scary to look at, but you get used to living like this,” she said. “It’s difficult, but also fun.” (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Crabs caught by Domingo Martinez, stored on his boat. Danica’s parents rely on their boat to make a living. “Without a boat, you are paralysed,” said her mother Mary Jane Martinez, who sells crabs her husband catches to the town’s market. She said life in the village was getting harder day by day, but she still preferred it to the city. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Crabs caught by Domingo Martinez, stored on his boat. Danica’s parents rely on their boat to make a living. “Without a boat, you are paralysed,” said her mother Mary Jane Martinez, who sells crabs her husband catches to the town’s market. She said life in the village was getting harder day by day, but she still preferred it to the city. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Domingo Martinez hauls in crab whilst fishing in the surrounding area of Sitio Pariahan. “If you work hard here, you will survive. You only have to jump on the sea to catch food. In land, you can work hard and still not have enough,” Mary Jane said. Her husband, Domingo, said leaving was not an option, because there is nowhere to go. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Domingo Martinez hauls in crab whilst fishing in the surrounding area of Sitio Pariahan. “If you work hard here, you will survive. You only have to jump on the sea to catch food. In land, you can work hard and still not have enough,” Mary Jane said. Her husband, Domingo, said leaving was not an option, because there is nowhere to go. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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The Martinez family spend time together in their bamboo hut. They once tried to rent an apartment in a nearby town, but moved back shortly after. “Our livelihood is here,” Domingo said. “If we are asked to move inland, it would be difficult to make a living. What if we become beggars there?” (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

The Martinez family spend time together in their bamboo hut. They once tried to rent an apartment in a nearby town, but moved back shortly after. “Our livelihood is here,” Domingo said. “If we are asked to move inland, it would be difficult to make a living. What if we become beggars there?” (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Bamboo hut sits on top of concrete structures in Sitio Pariahan. Fernando Siringan, a climate change expert, has studied Sitio Pariahan closely and said some delta areas north of Manila were changing rapidly because land was subsiding and water levels rising at the same time. “What is being projected 50 years from now or 100 years from now for many parts of the globe is actually happening right now at even faster rates,” he said. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Bamboo hut sits on top of concrete structures in Sitio Pariahan. Fernando Siringan, a climate change expert, has studied Sitio Pariahan closely and said some delta areas north of Manila were changing rapidly because land was subsiding and water levels rising at the same time. “What is being projected 50 years from now or 100 years from now for many parts of the globe is actually happening right now at even faster rates,” he said. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Siblings Cindy, 14, and DJ Martinez, 12, wake up in their bamboo hut. A U.N. climate change summit to be held in Madrid from December 2-13, and with wildfire in the United States and Australia, and severe flooding in Europe all being linked to global warming, public pressure is rising on cost-conscious national governments to find urgent solutions. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Siblings Cindy, 14, and DJ Martinez, 12, wake up in their bamboo hut. A U.N. climate change summit to be held in Madrid from December 2-13, and with wildfire in the United States and Australia, and severe flooding in Europe all being linked to global warming, public pressure is rising on cost-conscious national governments to find urgent solutions. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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Danica Martinez drinks a cup of milk as she prepares to go to school. Danica sees no long-term future in what has become like a scene from “Waterworld”, a 1995 film starring Kevin Costner in which post-apocalyptic tribes live on boats and rafts. “Someday I also want to leave and experience what it’s like to live inland,” she said. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 02, 2019 01:04 PM IST

Danica Martinez drinks a cup of milk as she prepares to go to school. Danica sees no long-term future in what has become like a scene from “Waterworld”, a 1995 film starring Kevin Costner in which post-apocalyptic tribes live on boats and rafts. “Someday I also want to leave and experience what it’s like to live inland,” she said. (Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS)

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