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Daily News Analysis


29th June, 2024 Geography


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Picture Courtesy: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/panama-island-relocate-sea-level-rise-9420734/

Context: Rising sea levels caused by global warming are forcing residents of small islands, such as Gardi Sugdub in Panama, to relocate.


  • Rising sea levels, driven primarily by global warming, are causing significant disruptions worldwide, especially for vulnerable coastal regions and small island nations.
  • The relocation of families from Gardi Sugdub in Panama to the mainland highlights the increasing human cost of climate change. This phenomenon has serious implications for other island nations and the global community.

What is Happening in Gardi Sugdub?

  • Gardi Sugdub is an island in Panama's Guna Yala province, home to around 1,300 members of the indigenous Guna community.
  • The Island faces annual flooding, particularly in November and December, due to rising sea levels.
  • In response, the Panamanian government has relocated around 300 families to a newly built housing development called Nuevo Cartí on the mainland.

Causes of Sea Level Rise

  • The sea level in the Caribbean is rising at an average rate of 3-4 millimetres per year.
  • This rate is expected to accelerate, potentially reaching 1 centimetre per year or more by the end of the century.

Impact on Other Island Nations

  • Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Located in the Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea, these states are highly vulnerable due to their low elevation and reliance on marine resources.
  • Notable Examples: Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Kiribati are experiencing severe impacts from rising sea levels, including land loss, cultural threats, and economic challenges.
  • IPCC Report: The 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights the existential threats faced by these islands.

Factors Driving Sea Level Rise

  • Thermal Expansion: As seawater warms, it expands, contributing to rising sea levels.
  • Melting Ice: The melting of land-based ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets, adds to the increase in sea levels.

Human and Cultural Costs

  • Cultural Disruption: The relocation of the Guna people threatens their traditional practices and cultural identity. The Guna are known for their vibrant molas, intricately sewn textiles that represent artistic expression and cultural heritage.
  • Broader Impact: The cultural disruption faced by the Guna mirrors the experiences of many small island communities around the world, who are also adapting to new environments and the loss of their traditional ways of life.

Current Trends in Sea Level Rise

Historical Increase: Since 1880, the global sea level has risen by approximately 21–24 centimetres.

Accelerating Rate: The rate of sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades due to increased global temperatures, which have risen by at least 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1880.

Main Drivers: The primary factors driving this rise include the thermal expansion of seawater and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets.

About Panama

  • Panama is a country located in Latin America, at the southern end of Central America.
  • It shares borders with Costa Rica and Colombia and is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
  • The capital and largest city of Panama is Panama City, which is home to a significant portion of the country's population.
  • Panama has a high-income economy and ranks well in various global indexes like the Human Development Index and the Global Competitiveness Index.
  • The country is primarily mountainous, with the central spine of mountains forming the continental divide. The highest point is Volcán Barú.
  • Panama is known for its diverse jungles, covering approximately 40% of its land area, which are home to a wide range of unique plant and animal species.
  • The Darién Gap, a dense jungle, separates Panama from Colombia and is known for unrest and illegal activities.
  • The country is a member of several international organisations, including the United Nations and the Organization of American States.



Indian Express



Q. Which countries border Panama?

1. Costa Rica

2. Colombia

3. Venezuela

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

A) 1 and 2 only

B) 2 and 3 only

C) 1 and 3 only

D) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: A