PHILIPPINE residents adjust to their sodden existence instead of fleeing. So when the floods invade  her home at night - and they always do, a little higher each year - Pelagia Villarmia curls up on her bed and waits.

Someday soon, she knows, the water will creep past the bamboo slats of her bed. It will keep rising,  salty and dark and surprisingly cold.

The seawater has covered the walls of Ms. Villarmia's home with murals of mildew. It has gnawed at the legs of furniture and frozen DVD player with its tray ajar. A corroded picture of  Ms. Villarmia and her husband, now dead, hangs on the wall, from back when they were young, hopeful and unaware of the seas's hunger.

What is happening to Ms. Villarmia and her neighbors in Batasan, an island in the Philippines, is harbinger of what residents of low-lying islands and coastal regions around the world will face as the sea rises higher.

In 2013, Batasan was convulsed by 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Thousands of aftershocks followed, and the local topography was thrown out to of kilter. Batasan and three neighboring islands collapsed downward, making them more vulnerable to the surrounding water.

Now climate change, with its rising sea levels, appears to be dooming a place that has no elevation to spare. The highest point on the islands is less than 8.5 feet above sea level.

When the floods are bad, Ms. Villarmia has learned to subsist on cold rice and coffee. She has grown skilled at typing up her valuables so they don't float away.

She is 80, and she knows the logic of actuarial tables. ''I will be gone before Batasan is gone,'' she said. ''But Batasan will also disappear,''

Around the time of every new and full moon, the sea rushes soundlessly past the trash-strewn shores, up over the single road running along the spine of Batasan, population 1,400, and into people's homes.

The island, part of the Tuggon chain in the central Philippines, is waterlogged at least one-third of the year.
The highest floods are taller than any man here, and they inundate the basketball court. They drown a painting of sea life at the primary school, adding verisimilitude to the cartoonish renderings of grinning sharks and manta rays.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Climate Change and Living, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Hannah Beech.


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