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Fiji villages face relocation as sea levels rise

Friday August 16, 2013 - 20:00 EST

People living in 34 coastal villages in Fiji face upheaval in the next few years as they relocate their homes because of rising sea levels.

Fiji's government has identified the villages as likely to suffer the effects of climate change over the next five to ten years.

One village in Bua province has already been relocated to Yadua and there are plans to relocate Tavea village soon.

Veresa Ceguadrau, an environment and climate change advocate in Bua, has told Radio Australia's relocation is the only safe option for many villages.

"During high tide and during cyclones water or waste goes straight into the village, damaging their homes," he said.

"There is no other option but to relocate them, especially during high tide. Water goes as high as their doorsteps."

Mr Ceguadrau says the situation is now urgent with visible damage to the islands, including salt inundating the land of subsistence-based farming communities.

"There has been a lot of loss in the coast line, especially with the native trees that used to grow by the water," he said.

More than 200 people are affected by the sea level rises, according to Mr Ceguadrau, and communities are asking for relocation assistance from several governments.


© ABC 2013

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