‘It’s just like the ocean here now’: Indonesia’s flooded villages


The rice fields are washed away. The coconut trees and chilli plants, flooded with salt water, are all dead. The farmers’ fish ponds fail, the water so high that the fish swim over the nets. And rubbish, carried by the tides, floats in and out of homes with doors that can no longer be closed.

On the northern coast of Central Java, Indonesia, villages are hit hard as sea levels rise, one of many effects of climate change. The occupants have had to raise their houses by several feet with cement or earth so that seawater does not come in. Others can only be accessed when the tide is low, trapping people inside for hours at a time.

Many villagers have fled the area, becoming climate migrants seeking new lives in places that are drier and higher above sea level. Others have remained in their flooded homes – some by choice, but many because they lack the money to move.

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