A coastal village in Tabasco is disappearing due to erosion.
El Bosque, 95 kilometers north of Villahermosa, lost 29 homes in January and a primary school cafeteria which served 45 pupils. Now only 45 homes remain standing.
The locals first reported the erosion about eight years ago, when five meters of beach was swallowed. The waves rose again in February, 2021.
An El Bosque municipal delegate, Antonio Merlín Coto, said he was concerned that the village could cease to exist due to the turbulent conditions. “We’re afraid that the whole community will disappear soon due to the cold fronts.”
He added that the waves from the two most recent cold fronts — at the end of January and beginning of February — were so large that they swept away an entire street with street lighting.
Merlín lost his home a week ago, but is still staying in El Bosque with relatives. “Nobody wants to leave the place where they have lived since 1981,” he said.
Others that have lost their homes have built temporary housing. However, Merlín thinks the force of nature will be impossible to resist. On Monday, “another [cold front] will hit us, and we believe that the other houses that are still on the shore, will be swallowed by the sea,” he said.
Guadalupe Cobos is a mother of four that has lived in El Bosque for 34 years. She said authorities were too slow to act. “We’ve been insisting that we need a sea wall, but no one pays any attention to us.”
She speculated at the cause of the turbulent conditions. “I think it’s because of climate change and because of the Pemex platforms, because they are very close to us,” she said.
When the first house was destroyed in February, 2021, Rosa Cardoza Carrillo was left with no choice but to relocate to the municipal capital Centla. Cardoza used to sell seafood, but now sells tamales given Centla’s greater distance from the sea.
“The sea has been sweeping everything away. It took our houses. I lost mine a year ago… it was the first,” she said.
So far, no authority has conducted a study into the causes of the phenomenon, but the state government has said the damage will be examined by experts.
People left homeless have written to authorities, but the division between the 300 villagers complicates matters: some want to be relocated while others want to stay, largely due to their economic dependence on fishing.
However, Merlín isn’t sure their resolve will continue. The cold fronts end in May “but then the hurricane season comes and that ends in November. Do you think the community is going to stand it?”
With reports from Milenio