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The drowning land: Indonesia's climate crisis

Parts of the country's coastline are disappearing as sea levels rise

A man carries a fishing net after collecting clams near an abandoned mosque that has been claimed by the sea in Jakarta's Muara Baru district in August 2021. Indonesia's capital is one of the world's fastest-sinking cities, afflicted by out-of-control development and rising sea levels caused by global warming. (All photos by Garry Lotulung)

SIMONET, Indonesia -- Indonesia is the world's fourth-most populous nation and the largest archipelagic country, comprising more than 17,000 islands. Most of its smaller islands are only 1 meter above sea level, and many coastal areas are being threatened by climate change.

Deforestation, land reclamation and the illegal extraction of groundwater by industry are making these areas ever more vulnerable to rising sea levels. Experts predict that before 2050, thousands of small islands and millions of houses in coastal areas will disappear.

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