The UK may eventually face a crisis like India's Joshimath as thousands of houses worth around £600 million are likely to into the sea by the end of the century due to coastal erosion, a report has warned.
More than 20 at-risk villages were analysed to estimate how much of the coastline could be lost, the New York Post reported. In all, over 2,200 homes in the UK are predicted to sink into the sea by 2100.
According to the report, the areas most at risk include Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, East Yorkshire, Essex, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Northumberland, Norfolk, and Sussex.
Angela Terry, chief executive of research by climate action group One Home, told New York Post, "Sea levels are rising as global temperatures soar and so larger waves batter our coast during severe storms. These irreversible changes mean some cliff faces are crumbling fast. We can’t turn the tide or build a wall around the entire coast so we urgently need to help seaside communities to prepare for the damage that will come."
She added that many homeowners are unaware their properties are at risk. Currently, for those homes at risk, there is no compensation scheme "available. Owners might be asked to pay to demolish their homes while still paying their mortgage," Terry said.
Read more: Locals protest in Joshimath against slow pace of efforts to save town
According to Ian Brennan, chairman of the Save Hemsby Coastline charity in Norfolk, more than 90 homes in Hemsby are at risk of being engulfed by the sea in the next 25 years if nothing is done.
He also said that many homeowners did not know their properties were at risk when they purchased them. "People here are very nervous. Every time there is a storm those who live within sight and sound of the sea fear it will be the one which means they lose their home," he told New York Post.
Some residents like Lucy Ansbro have already shelled out thousands of dollars protecting their homes from coastal erosion. The 54-year-old had spent £500,000 on her home in Suffolk.
Her neighbour’s mansion, however, once worth £2 million, was demolished in October 2022 as receding cliffs made it unsafe. "Owners need to know how quickly change can happen if you live on vulnerable parts of the coast. Nobody is taking this seriously or accepting that communities are at serious risk," she told the publication.
Last week, a 230-foot-long crack appeared in a cliff on the Jurassic Coast while a 60-foot-wide section of the cliff at Seatown, Dorset, has sunk by 3 feet. As per reports, experts have urged the public to keep away from it, believing that the whole section may sink at any moment.
Earlier this year, Joshimath, a town in Uttarakhand popular among pilgrims and tourists experienced subsidence which caused deep cracks to run down the walls of hundreds of homes. The phenomenon which started on January 4 has affected more than 850 buildings, of which 165 are located in the danger zone.
Read more: Explainer: Why Joshimath is sinking, and its larger environmental repercussions