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Dozens of Fiji communities need to be relocated due to climate change

Monday 16 February 2015 | Published in Regional


SUVA – Forty five communities in Fiji are projected to be relocated in the next five to 10 years because of climate change.

This was confirmed by acting permanent secretary for Foreign Affairs Esala Nayasi during his address at the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Symposium in Suva earlier this week.

Nayasi said this projection followed extensive vulnerability and adaptation assessments, which was conducted at community level – statistics collected from both the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and the Climate Change Division.

“Around 800 communities in Fiji have been impacted by climate change,” Nayasi said.

“Of these, a projected 45 communities will have to be relocated in the next five to 10 years. These are coastal communities from the maritime islands and those who inhabit our major river banks.”

He said there had already been three community relocation projects in the last three years.

“These are at Vunidogoloa on Vanua Levu, Narikoso on Kadavu and Denumanu Village on Yadua Island, Vuya in Bua that are supported by government.

“The next state-sponsored project will be Waciwaci District School in Lakeba, Lau.”

Nayasi said Fiji was experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change, particularly the rise in sea level which was forcing people to leave their homes and move to higher ground.

“These are people who are on the verge of losing their land that they call home, losing their critical basic necessities and infrastructure, culture, identity and traditional knowledge. This is no longer a news story, it is happening now.”