Fiji Time: 1:36 PM on Friday 9 October

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Threat to mountain ridges

Shayal Devi
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CLIMATE change is not only about rising sea levels but also includes shifting weather patterns that now threatens mountain ridge communities in the highlands of Fiji, says a concerned NGO.

After conducting studies in rural Ba, American Rise Beyond the Reef's director Janet Lotawa said climate change issues varied beyond just rising sea levels.

"For example, Tukuraki Village of Yakete District, Ba, had to be disbanded due to landslides that killed a family," she said.

"In Nalotawa Village, three homes are just now being rebuilt in the wake of epic floods in February 2011. Water quality in communities once renowned has deteriorated severely."

She said these tragedies and impacts were all linked to climate change but many people were still unaware of the impact shifting weather patterns brought.

"In one such climate change ready community located near Yakete district boundaries, landowners are extracting river rocks at such an aggressive rate that they're destroying their environment much more quickly than climate change.

"This community has been warned about possible flooding risks in government and NGO-sponsored workshops. The workshops are not sufficient to divert their attention from a quick pay cheque.

"The bottom line is communities who have basic needs such as access to medical care or paying school expenses aren't going to have very open ears for such trivialities as ecological concerns, especially when they're in a theoretical non-existent future."

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