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Kiribati's hunt for land

Serelisoni Moceica
Saturday, March 03, 2012

THE people of Kiribati are looking at relocating as a worst case scenario because their islands are increasingly being affected by the rising sea level.

President Anote Tong made the comment on Wednesday, saying he was seriously considering talks with international governments on the issue, including Fiji.

"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," he said.

President Tong, who has been re-elected for a third term, said climate change was a daily battle for his people and his government was considering purchasing land in Fiji for his people to relocate here.

He said he had attended meetings and negotiations on the matter and deliberated on the effects of climate change in his country but there was "no real solution or initiative" taken by other governments on the matter". President Tong urged developed countries to refrain from using damaging products that caused the suffering of smaller island nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu.

He said part of their escape plan included moving his citizens into other countries as immigrants.

"They would be skilled workers, trained and educated and make positive contributions towards their adopted societies," President Tong said.

Kiribati is composed of 32 atolls and has a population of about 100,000.