Written by Staff Writer by Alison Young, CNN
As Nigeria struggles to come to terms with the reality of climate change, a famous documentary on the country’s environmental record in 2017 (and our first video of this year) has given a new lens to the broader conflict: Lagos Island is being swallowed by the sea.
The documentary, “The Before and After Lagos,” tells the story of the oasis called Canje Island, one of only two remaining mangrove islands in Nigeria, home to around 1,000 inhabitants.
Each year, their homes wash away as the waves and tides converge with the coastline and cause large waves to crash into the shoreline.
Fleeing the rising tide
Cynthia Jobin is one of the few who doesn’t want to go. To avoid moving out, she has dug a small mosquito net hole by her beach house to protect her family from the rising ocean.
Zaina, her son, helps construct a cardboard box over the hole she wants to protect their home from the high water.
Zaina is one of the few who doesn’t want to go — in her house, she believes she can build a home for her family on Canje Island. CNN
Jogboli is still waiting to leave Canje Island. CNN
CNN satellite image: Lagos Island and surrounding areas have increased in water level through 2104 ( left), compared to 2015 ( the year CNN conducted its investigation)
A quick trip to Telu, which the International Waters and Air traffic agency, says attracts up to 12,000 planes per day, and within sight of several international airports including the Lagos Airport, indicates there are few options.
Fleeing the wave crash
The flooding is so bad, Zaina says the sea will reach to his front door within weeks.
But life on Canje is not a sprint, as demonstrated by Zaina’s attempts to break out of the box – first using his father’s nail gun and chainsaw to demolish his father’s house, and then using his younger brother’s homemade boat to try and get across the ocean to his beloved homeland.
CNN satellite image: The water levels in the Lagos Bay Delta (left) and landmass of Canje Island (right) have increased in 2015 (left) compared to 2104 (in red)
The water levels in the Lagos Bay Delta (left) and Canje Island (right) have increased in 2015 (left) compared to 2104 (in red)
Zaina is waiting for his brother to return from school. He feels compelled to complete his studies so he can help remove his family from the drowning island.
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