008 The indigenous Guna


008-c-ar-Guna-Panama The indigenous Guna live since 150 years ago in the region of Guna Yala, in Panama. The Gunas moved from the inland to the coast and to the islands of Panama because there were mosquitos and epidemic of yellow fever and malaria. The region of Guna Yala became autonomous region in 1938 and is constituted by an inland area, the cost area under the mountain where are living 11 community and by the islands area in the archipelago of San Blas. The archipelago is done by 371 islands, but only 50 are inhabited by 38 community.

The estimate of 2010 said 70.000 are the Guna community, 40.000 emigrate in Panama City and 30.000 indigenous in Guna Yala. The islanders have many problems, climate changes, the increase of the sea, lack of space. For this last cause they had reclaimed land to the sea losing the coral barrier, that has provoked the reduction of wave’s protection and consequently the increase possibility of inundations in the rain and storm period, november and december.

In Gardi Sugdub’s island are living 927 people above 1 mt from the sea level. In the past years they have reclaimed 6 hectares of land to the sea, but the space still not enough, in fact they have to built extra areas for store some animals. On the island there is not cultivable soil and the Guna subsist on fishing and tourism. On the island there are school, library, health centre, local headquarter, police office, two telephone box, solar panels, parabolic dish, light in the night from 18 until 23, and there is an aqueduct that reach from land the island. The igenic services are on the water and the cemetery on land. A lot of Guna are asking to the government of Panama di have a location on the land because of they are scare from inundation after the big storm in 2008. With the meeting in Lima (december 1014) they hope in the report that will be sign in Paris the next year, will be included funds for populations affected by climate changes. At the moment the international money are only used to the purpose of decrease and reduce to zero the emission of CO2.

The Guna Yala has lost in the past 30 years 50.363 sqm of land in the uninhabited islands and a average of 1.105 sqm each island inhabited. This is what say Guzman, Guevara, Castillo, tree marine biology that have looked at the data of sea level in Panama. In fact since the construction of the Panama’s canal in 1907 there are data of the variation of the sea level that certify the rising of the sea. 1907-2010 2 mm/year is the average increase but the data between 1970-2000 show 2,4 mm/year of increase and  is worst looking at the period of 1993-2010 3,2 mm/year. Also the increase of the temperature of the atmosphere as a result of increase of CO2 not only caused the melting of the ice and the rising sea level but also the acidification of this. Casilda Saavedra is engineer of the Technological University of Panama and she is the Panama ‘s delegate of the Intergovernativo Council of the Climate Change IPCC, she says “El calentamiento global es un fenómeno complejo y difícil de prever. Pero la subida del nivel del mar es el efecto más seguro de todos. Los registros lo confirman. Lo que pasa es que se trata de un cambio muy gradual, casi imperceptible, y no parece tan urgente tomar medidas”. The case of Guna Yala need more studies. There are islands that rize and others that sink. The scientists think the acidification of the sea dissolves the structure of the coral and so the islands sink. Panama need to look deep into the climate changes, this State is this and long.It has 1.300 km on the Atlantic Ocean side and 1.800 km on the Pacific Ocean side.


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