THE lives of the villagers of Buretu in Tailevu are under threat because of the effects of climate change.
Abundant harvests from their farms are a distant memory for them, their dreams and hopes of sustaining themselves shattered, leaving the villagers to buy food from neighbouring villages as they struggle to provide and put food on the table.
During the visit by the queens to the village they were overwhelmed to see how badly the lives of the people were affected by climate change.
Buretu chief Ratu Noni Veikoso said for the past four decades their dreams of trying to rebuild their village had been in vain.
Adding on he said with climate change affecting human lives used as this year's Vodafone Fiji Hibiscus Festival theme, this was the first step and also a good learning experience for the girls to witness the way villagers lived for the past years.
"The queens' visit to the village was a good opportunity for them to see for themselves what the village has been facing and hopefully when they go back they won't forget us and probably use us as an example," Ratu Veikoso said.
Miss Fiji Broadcasting, Rosalia Ralulu said the trip was like none she had ever been on.
"I have been to a lot of outreach program but this trip was very different because I saw for myself just how badly climate change was affecting the lives of people in the rural area."
Hibiscus Events Group public relations manager Lice Movono-Rova said the queens were excited to see the impacts of climate change, adding it was a great learning experience for the contestants.