Climate Change's Impact on Egypt

Lynn Neary talks with Liane Hansen, who is reporting from Egypt on the effects of climate change, including salt water encroachment on the Nile River, the country's major source of fresh water.

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LYNN NEARY, host:

WEEKEND EDITION Sunday's Liane Hansen is in Egypt this week working on climate change stories. We reached her on the mouth of the Nile. Hello, Liane. Good to talk to you.

LIANE HANSEN: Nice to talk to you too, Lynn. Yes, we're sitting on a boat actually at the mouth of the Nile - where the Nile River meets the Mediterranean. And we're at this place because it's very significant in terms of the climate change stories that we're going to be doing.

You see, the salt water from the Mediterranean is encroaching on the fresh water of the Nile, and the Nile is the only source of freshwater in Egypt. So it's beginning to have an affect not only on the water but also on the soil and a lot of farmers and the way of life is being threatened by essentially rising sea levels, not to mention land that's going under water as well.

I should also mention that we're in Rosetta. And Rosetta, as you probably remember, is where they found the famous stone that allowed the translation of the hieroglyphics and contributed to the culture. So, it's an interesting, very interesting place to be.

NEARY: So, you've been talking with some of these people and what have you uncovered so far?

HANSEN: Well, we're on the boat with a 16-year-old student named Iman(ph). And we've been talking to the young generation about their concerns about climate change. And he goes to school in Alexandria and he wrote a presentation on the impact of climate change on Egypt. And he's actually now using it to raise awareness of the problems of climate change and more important how his generation and the generations that follow are going to adapt to these changing conditions.

And when we leave the boat we're going to be going to a date farm, which is severely threatened by climate change. It's a farm where the saltwater is beginning to get into the date palms and ruining them. So those stories and other stories from the slums of Cairo, from the Alexandria library, we're going to be bringing them all back when we return in two weeks.

NEARY: Sounds like a really interesting trip, Liane.

HANSEN: It's a fascinating trip. I can't wait to tell everybody more.

NEARY: That's WEEKEND EDITION host Liane Hansen reporting from Egypt.

(Soundbite of music)

NEARY: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

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