Climate change impact

THE impact of climate change has resulted in the relocation of houses in affected villages around the North.

The villagers of Yacata in Cakaudrove, Mali and Kia in Macuata have seen and lived through the impacts brought about by climate change.

During a government maritime tour held last week, the villagers shared how they had relocated many houses that used to sit near the seashore.

Nakawaga Village, Mali, headman Jone Ravoto said he had seen the impact of climate change since the age of four.

He told the entourage that at that young age in 1980, the village elders had to replace the sea wall by the village shore.

Now at the age of 40, there has never been a replacement of the old sea wall, which results in the spillage of water on to the village lawn during high tide.

“It is quite sad to see what once was a big village has now become smaller in area because most of our foreshore has been eaten up by waves,” he said.

Mr Ravoto said one of the major changes was the relocation of villages to higher ground.

“Our village used to have three rows of houses, but now we have only two rows because the third row that used to sit by the shore has moved inland to high ground,” he said.

“This means only two rows of houses remain in the village area and some houses are now sitting by the shore.

“It’s not easy watching the impact of climate change affect our surroundings, especially when people have to relocate to higher ground.”

To assist with the construction of a new sea wall, Mr Ravoto said the villagers had raised funds for the project.

But for those on Yacata island, they have never had a sea wall.

“We are one of the villages that got hit badly by Severe TC Winston and we need to have a proper sea wall to be constructed around our island.

“We have seen erosion happen by the shore and we need the sea wall to protect the houses that are nearer to the shore.

“Tourists are also attracted to our white sandy beaches and that is a source of income for us so having a sea wall will be of great help.”

On Kia, headman of Ligau and Daku villages Orisi Vukicanavanua said a sea wall was needed to protect them from climate change impact.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Joeli Cawaki said all issues would be addressed.

“We will follow up on all the issues and we will make sure they are highlighted and addressed.”

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