Photo: Government of Kiribati
Kiribati is an island nation in the South Pacific that’s currently home to more than 100,000 people — at least for now. Residents of the low-lying archipelago may soon be uprooted as global sea levels — which the United Nations says could rise up to 5 feet by 2100 due to climate change— threaten to inundate the group of islands.
Kiribati’s president, Anote Tong, is currently in negotiations to buy 5,000 acres of land on Fiji’s second largest island where the sinking nation’s citizens could be relocated,The Telegraph’s Paul Chapman reports.
“This is the last resort, there’s no way out of this one. Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages,” Tong told Fiji One television.
The tropical nation is now on average just two meters above sea level.
In a video appeal a few years ago, the government said the country’s fresh water supply is becoming salty and unsustainable as seawalls are breached by the Pacific Ocean.
The government will have to work out a migration plan, as President Tong is keen on the concept of “migration with dignity” and has initiated programs to equip citizens with education and work qualifications that are attractive to the outside world.
Since 2003 the Kiribati government has been rolling out strategies for climate change adaption. Last year, the government considered building “floating platforms,” estimated to cost about $2 billion, to save the Kiribati’s residents from rising seas. But the option of relocation, a last resort, is now squarely on the table.
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