Newtok Residents Steadily Relocating to Mertarvik

Residents of one of Alaska’s most eroded villages are making steady progress relocating to higher ground nine miles away.

The Yupik Eskimo village of Newtok is leading the seemingly impossible task of moving to the safer site called Mertarvik, which means “getting water from the stream” in Yupik.

The community of 350 is located near Alaska’s storm-battered western coast and is among the most vulnerable among scores of villages in the state affected by erosion and flooding blamed in part to rising global temperatures.

Newtok is the only community to begin the actual physical labor at a new site, a process that began in 2009. The work has steadily continued with yearly short-term funding from a variety of sources including the federal and state governments.

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