Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Uruguay: freed Guantanamo detainees try to adjust to normal life

Read more

A show about human spirit and achievement in the face of adversity. We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Every other Sunday at 8.40 pm.

REVISITED

REVISITED

Latest update : 2014-03-03

Shishmaref, a village adrift

Perched on an island at the very edge of Alaska, Shishmaref has become a symbol of global warming. For the past ten years, this village has been collapsing. With the melting of the ice caps, water levels are rising, and gradually the sea is eating away at the coast. It's a nightmare for 600 Eskimos who live here. If nothing is done, Shishmaref could soon be wiped off the map, and its 4,000-year-old Inuit culture could disappear. Our reporters went to find out more.

The nearest town from Shishmaref is one hour away by plane. Alighting from the small propeller plane, we discover an almost abandoned village. Encircled by the Chukchi Sea and the icy winds of the North Pole, we feel as if we have arrived in a ghost town. During the few hours of daylight, we see silhouettes astride roaring quad bikes. The island is just two kilometres long and 500 metres wide.

It is November, but there is very little snow and the ice floe has not formed yet. Abandoned remains of snowmobiles are strewn around the houses. There is no running water or gas. The residents are mainly self-subsistent, in the Inuit tradition. In Shishmaref, a hunter knows how to fish, and vice versa.

But for the past several years, the lives of these Eskimos have been turned upside down. Global warming has completely disrupted the cycles of nature. As a result, we are at the beginning of winter and the inhabitants are hunting seals on the lagoon, instead of fishing under the ice.

With the rise in temperatures, storms are more frequent, the ice is melting, water levels are rising and waves are eating away at the permafrost, the mixture of sand and ice on which Shishmaref is built. Twenty houses have already been swallowed up. The erosion means the island is shrinking by almost 20 metres every year.

By Valérie DEFERT , Sébastien VUAGNAT

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2013-06-04 Chechnya

Chechnya: Grozny Revisited

In early 2000, Chechnya's capital Grozny was left in ruins after Moscow’s two brutal wars against Chechen separatists. Today, local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov and a tide of Russian...

Read more

2014-11-21 Lebanon

Is Beirut still haunted by ghosts of the civil war?

When Lebanon's civil war ended in 1990, it wasn't clear to many Lebanese how or why. Warlords swapped their fatigues for the suits of political office, then issued an amnesty...

Read more

2014-11-07 India

India: Scars of Bhopal disaster hard to heal

On the night of December 2 1984, an explosion at a chemical plant caused the death of thousands of people in northern India.

Read more

2014-10-24 Norway

Norway: Utoya massacre survivors still seeking answers

The horror of July 22, 2011 is forever seared in Norway’s collective memory. That was the day that Anders Breivik opened fire on a summer camp of the Workers' Youth League on the...

Read more

2014-10-10 Ireland

Belfast: The legacy of the Troubles

The 1998 Good Friday agreement ended a 30-year conflict between republicans and loyalists in Northern Ireland. The “Troubles” were over – peace broke out. In the years since,...

Read more