Abu Qir’s residential buildings lie dangerously close to the coastline, some built within meters of the rising sea, posing a significant threat to lives and livelihoods. In the winter months the coast nearly vanishes under the waves, which crash up against the buildings, causing structural damage and in some places building collapses.
In the summer months, like this August 8, 2017 photo, Abu Qir sees a rejuvenation of a few meters of coastline as sand creates natural barriers from the sea. But man-made activities, like groundwater extraction to create new green space, has mixed seawater with drinking water, thereby rendering both the land and the water useless.
A series of images commissioned by the Swedish Institute in Alexandria for the Climate Networking Conference 2017 depicting ways in which climate change has already started to affect life in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.
A farmer holds up sea shells in his agricultural land, August 11, 2017. The seashells are what remain from sea water that seeped from Lake Burullus, resulting in salt water intrusion on agricultural land due to a rise in sea and ground water levels. In some areas, this has completely inundated the land and in others it has increased the salinity so much it’s no longer possible to cultivate crops. Salt water intrusion from lake and sea level rise is an immediate threat to the farming lands in the Nile Delta. According to the World Bank, Alexandria and the Nile Delta is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to climate change. A one meter rise in sea levels will have a catastrophic effect on the lives and livelihoods of the millions of people living in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.
ElMax, a fishing neighbourhood in Egypt’s port city of Alexandria, August 10, 2017. ElMax is a low-lying stretch of land built on either side of the Khandak AlArab canal which feeds into the Mediterranean Sea. Homes are often only a few centimetres above water level and during the winter rainy season this impoverished fishing neighbourhood is often inundated with water, flooding the lower levels of people’s homes. Rising sea levels and more frequent flooding of this area has prompted the government to build alternative housing close by and urge residents to move. According to the World Bank, Alexandria and the Nile Delta is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to climate change. A one meter rise in sea levels will have a catastrophic effect on the lives and livelihoods of the millions of people living in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.
Children play in a bay at a newly fortified corniche walkway at Bir Massoud in Alexandria, Egypt, August 8, 2017. The city invested in wave breakers and seawalls, but a rise in ground water levels, coupled by a rise in sea levels threaten the already crumbling infrastructure of the city. The millions of people who live in Alexandria and along the low-lying Delta plain are at risk of displacement, as well as loss of livelihoods. A half-meter rise in sea level would have devastating effects on the people and the landscape of the region's most populous country.
Young ballerinas drink water during a photoshoot at the Montaza Palace Gardens, August 8, 2017, the hottest month with average temperatures often reaching above 30C. A three degree rise in in global warming would have devastating effects as sea levels rise. Alexandria, home to millions of people, will see its shores swallowed by the sea with only a half meter rise in sea level, if measures aren't taken tackle the effects climate change.
A father and son ride a horse near the 15th Century Qaitbay Citadel, which was built on the exact site of the ancient Alexandria Lighthouse, in Alexandria, Egypt August 10, 2017. Historical sites like these are under threat from rising sea levels in Alexandria with some sites already suffering damage to their foundations and lower walls. Seawater inundation was found at the base of the Citadel and the stronger waves battering the sides of the citadel bore holes through its walls. Alexandria is one of the world's most vulnerable cities from climate change, affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who live in the city and the Delta region.