ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - At risk from surging storm waves and floods, Alaska's coastal villagers are dealing with the immediate consequences of climate change -- threats to their health, safety and even their ancestors' graves.
The rapid erosion of the state's coastline is blamed on the scarcity of sea ice and thawing of permafrost. Without solid ice to shield the land, and without hard-frozen conditions to keep it held fast, encroaching waves and floods easily carve large chunks from shorelines or riverbanks.
"People are dying and getting injured as a result of trying to engage in traditional activities in much-changing conditions," said Deborah Williams, a former Interior Department official who heads an Alaska organization focused on climate change.
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