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Fiji Time: 12:10 AM on Tuesday 22 April

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Climate change impacts villages

Luke Rawalai
Friday, January 17, 2014

GOVERNMENT has identified 676 villages that are threatened by climate change.

Speaking at the country's first successful village relocation yesterday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the effects of climate change involved the loss of coastal land and infrastructure through erosion, flooding and the threat of storm surges.

"Of the 676 communities identified, 42 have the potential to be relocated in the next five to 10 years," he said.

"The project that we are launching here in Vunidogoloa and other projects in Narikoso, Kadavu, are pilot projects and are benchmarks for the rest.

"The lesson that we learn here as we relocate your village will help us deal with this crisis at a wider national level and the threat to other communities."

Commodore Bainimarama told the people of Vunidogoloa that people in small island developing states were the victims of a planet that was warming and ice caps that are melting, pushing sea levels higher and swamping the land that we've traditionally occupied.

"The scientists tell us that this warming is taking place because of the high levels of carbon emissions being pumped into the Earth's atmosphere because of human activity, especially the factories of industrialised countries.

"We don't have any control over this but we keep urging these countries to take necessary steps to address this global phenomenon.

"While we wait for these countries to act we must do what we can to address the problems that we are facing."

He added that there was no need to wait for scientists to tell us, although they do say that the frequency and severity of the cyclones we experience in Fiji has increased over the years.

Commodore Bainimarama officially handed over new houses to 30 families on a new land where the village has been relocated.