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Africa’s Heritage Sites Destroyed due to a Changing Climate

From rock art in southern Africa to pyramids along the River Nile, humans have been leaving their mark across the continent for millennia. But extreme weather events, the rise in sea levels and other challenges associated with the changing climate are threatening to destroy invaluable cultural landmarks, a recent study warns. Writing in the Azania journal, researchers from the UK, Kenya and the US say that “significant intervention” is needed to save these heritage sites. As if to underline the warning, in recent weeks archaeologists in Sudan have been trying to stop floodwater from the River Nile from reaching the UN-designated World Heritage Site at al-Bajrawiya. The authors of the Azania report have identified a number of sites that they consider under threat. Suakin, in north-eastern Sudan, Old Town Lamu in Kenya has been “severely impacted by shoreline retreat”, meaning it has lost the natural protection once offered by sand and vegetation. By 2050, Guinea, The Gambia, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Congo, Tunisia, Tanzania and the Comoros will all be at significant threat of coastal erosion and sea-level rise.