A once-thriving fishing village in Mexico is being slowly eaten away by coastal erosion and residents are up in arms about failed promises to relocate them.
The families in El Bosque, Tabasco, are examples of climate displacement, said Greenpeace. While 15 remain in imminent danger, another 30 have already pulled up stakes.
Although Tabasco Gov. Carlos Merino Campos promised that he would relocate them, so far he has not fulfilled his offer, local media reported.
The community of El Bosque is 13 kilometers north of Frontera, Tabasco, on the mouth of the Grijalva River and the Gulf of Mexico.
In 1950. it was an unregulated settlement for fishermen from Alvarado, Veracruz, but in 1982 it obtained official recognition from municipal authorities.
Silvina Santana, 59 years old, is a witness to how her community went from Eden to destruction in four decades and is certain that the relocation promised by the authorities will not come.
The woman also criticized President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is also from Tabasco.
“Don López Obrador said that he took off his hat for his people and we are seeing that he did not because he abandoned us,” she told reporters. “Here, God forbid, a tidal wave comes and covers us all.”
Guadalupe Cobos arrived when she was 12 years old from Alvarado, Veracruz, and remembers that as a child she saw the sea very far away when it was not a threat.
Her family took root because it was a rich fishing area, but the outlook turned adverse due to contamination from oil platforms and the climate crisis.
“We don’t have that ‘plan b,’ not really,” she stressed.
Pablo Ramírez, the coordinator of the Energy and Climate Change program at Greenpeace, urged “dignified climate migrations ” on the agenda at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt.
“I think it is fundamental, in Mexico and the world, that people begin to understand that right now there are already climate displaced people,” he said.
“During the hurricane and rainy season, the inhabitants are trapped by the increase in the levels of the Grijalva River, which eroded 150 meters on the left bank, while on the right bank the Gulf of Mexico “swallowed” another 200 meters of land.”
In its best days, the community of sailors and fishermen had a tourist beach and a seafood restaurant, but now only a submerged bathroom remains as a vestige.
The disaster is noticeable about 500 meters from the coastline, where the sea swallowed the only street they had and 30 houses are in ruins.
El Bosque has lost between 150 and 200 meters of land.
“It is something alarming,” a local historian warned.