St. Kitts, Nevis tops list of nations losing land due to sea-level rise, erosion

    The chart shows the twin-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis lost over 25% of its 1961 land area, the largest proportion of any country on the World Bank list.
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    GENEVA, Switzerland —

    St. Kitts and Nevis top a just-published World Bank list of 37 nations that between 1961 and 2017, lost the most land due to sea-level rise and erosion.

    The World Economic Forum released a report last week indicating the Federation has shrunk by 90-square-kilometers (approximately 34.7 square miles), losing more than a quarter of its land area since 1961.

    Since 1961, the twin island country of St Kitts and Nevis has shrunken by more than 25 percent,” according to, an online portal of statistics that claims immediate access to over one million statistic and facts.

    The countries on the list as having the top-10 land-losses were:
    1. St. Kitts and Nevis (25.71);
    2. Ecuador (10.29 percent);
    3. Vietnam, (4.74 percent);
    4. Bulgaria (1.87 percent),
    5. the Seychelles (1.09 percent),
    6. Cuba (0.89 percent),
    7. Sweden (0.73 percent),
    8. Iraq (0.70 percent),
    9. Azerbaijan (0.67 percent), and tied
    10. El Salvador (0.62 percent), Japan (0.58 percent).

    “The dual-island country is relatively exposed geographically, making it more heavily impacted by extreme weather events like hurricanes and extreme storms, such as Hurricanes Luis (1995), Georges (1998), and Lenny (1999), which have battered the nation in recent years,” said Madison Dapcevich, author of a lead article on the topic on

    Dapcevich noted that around the world, coastal communities may soon find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water.

    According to the US Geological Survey, when these extreme weather events hit, winds push sand from the beach system and deposit it offshore onto large sandbars, causing the beaches to become narrower and lower in elevation.

    “This dramatic land loss can be attributed to regular erosion and natural disasters, notably Hurricane Luis, Hurricane Georges and Hurricane Lenny,” said Niall McCarthy in an IFLScience post.

    “Between 1961 and 2017, the Caribbean island nation of St Kitts and Nevis lost more than a quarter of its land area – the most of any country in the world – primarily due to rising sea levels,” Dapcevic said, “Not only does this displacement impact economies that rely on expansive white sand beaches for tourism, but beach erosion also threatens coastal properties and infrastructures like roads and buildings.”

    In 2014, sea level rise was 6.6 centimeters (2.6 inches) above the previous 1993 record average. Sea levels around the world are rising at an increasing rate, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests they will continue to do so at even higher rates than we’re seeing now. This could breed trouble for 10 of the world’s largest cities, which are all found near the coast.

    The World Economic Forum was established in 1971 in Geneva, Switzerland as a not-for-profit foundation. It describes itself as an “International Organization for Public and Private Cooperation.” It says it engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

    The foundation also acts as a think tank, publishing a wide range of reports. In particular, “Strategic Insight Teams” focus on producing reports of relevance in the fields of competitiveness and global risks.

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