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Saint-Louis is being swallowed by the sea. Residents are bracing for a new reality

Mamadou Thiam in Saint-Louis, Senegal on October 5.
Ricci Shryock for NPR
Mamadou Thiam in Saint-Louis, Senegal on October 5.

"God has pushed the sea up to our houses," says Mamadou Thiam. "Climate change destroyed many houses."

Thiam is one of thousands who now live in an internally-displaced people (IDP) camp in Saint-Louis, Senegal after they were forced to leave their homes on the coast because of climate-induced erosion.

The problem is as simple as it is devastating: the Atlantic Ocean is expanding into Senegal, and Saint-Louis is ground zero. Every year, a little bit more land is lost to the sea.

High tides and strong currents tore down walls and rendered Thiam's home unlivable. Life in the IDP camp is his new reality, and experts warn it could be the future of tens of thousands of other people in Saint-Louis.

Listen to our full report by clicking or tapping the play button above.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Ayen Bior
Ayen Deng Bior is a producer at NPR's flagship evening news program, All Things Considered. She helps shape the sound of the daily shows by contributing story ideas, writing scripts and cutting tape. Her work at NPR has taken her to Warsaw, Poland, where she heard from refugees displaced by the war in Ukraine. She has spoken to people in Saint-Louis, Senegal, who are grappling with rising seas. Before NPR, Bior wore many hats at the Voice of America's English to Africa service where she worked in radio, television and digital. Bior began her career reporting on the revolution in Sudan, the developing state of affairs in South Sudan and the experiences of women behind the headlines in both countries. In her spare time, Bior loves to kayak, read and bird watch.