The Guna indigenous tribe in Panama has lived for decades in what it has always called home, the San Blas Islands. But now, the entire archipelago is at risk of succumbing to the depths of the sea in just a few decades. San Blas is an archipelago that gathers more than 350 islands that are now threatened, explains the BBC.
Colleen Hagerty, a BBC journalist, tells how she took her suitcase and went out to discover San Blas in her small boat at the suggestion of friends and residents. He was warned not to expect great luxuries and was instead welcomed by the Guna tribe, who has always lived there.
The islands are autonomously governed by the Guna, who exercise sovereignty over all the islands of the archipelago, although they inhabit only in about 100 of them. One of its policies is the strong control of tourism, where even on one-day trips, it is necessary to show the passport.
The journalist Collen explained that the fact that there are no buildings or any kind of more advanced buildings, allows both locals and tourists to see, in an open way, all the islands.
Colleen also explained that reefs are one of the great raw materials of the Guna tribe, but a large number of reefs are disappearing, which means that the danger of the islands succumbing to the forces of the sea is increasingly evident.
According to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, sea level rise around San Blas has increased very rapidly in the last decades. This, together with poor management of resources, such as the erosion of reefs, has already caused a strong erosion of the sea coast. The question is when does the tribe have to leave the islands?
The non-profit Displacement Solutions, which aims to help displaced people because of the climate, estimates that 28,000 people will need to be transferred from the archipelago to the mainland and argues that this transfer should begin immediately.
The Guna are a people that live from tourism and fishing, with the trip to the mainland, their livelihood is in doubt, as well as where this people will be placed and whether or not they can return to the islands.