Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Climate change to force 75 million Pacific Islanders from their homes

More than 75 million people living on Pacific islands will have to relocate by 2050 because of the effects of climate change, Oxfam has warned.
Fishermen paddle off Kennedy Island in the remote Western Province of the Solomon Islands: Climate change to force 75 million Pacific Islanders from their homes A report by the charity said Pacific Islanders were already feeling the effects of global warming, including food and water shortages, rising cases of malaria and more frequent flooding and storms. Some had already been forced from their homes and the number of displaced people was rising, it warned.

"The Future is Here: Climate Change in the Pacific" predicted that many Pacific Islanders would not be able to relocate within their own countries and would become international refugees.

Half of the population of the Pacific live less than 1.5km from the coast and are incredibly vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather. But as well as moving out, the report found that some countries had started adapting to the changing climate.

Fiji is attempting to "climate-proof" its villages by testing salt-resistant varieties of staple foods, planting mangroves and native grasses to halt coastal erosion in order to protect wells from salt water intrusion, and moving homes and community buildings away from vulnerable coastlines.

In the Solomon Islands officials are looking for land to resettle people from low-lying outer atolls, and those living in the outer atolls of the Federated States of Micronesia were also moving to higher ground. The tiny nation of Tuvalu also recently pledged to become carbon neutral by 2020.

No comments: