Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The first climate change refugees

We mentioned Tuvalu and the Torres Straits islands quite a while back as they appeared to be potentially the first islands to be evacuated because of rising sea levels and tidal surges. It looks as if they will now be second or third after one of the Carteret Islands, which are a low level island group making up part of Papua New Guinea.

This report from the Daily Mail highlights the problems that the Carteret Islands have suffered over recent years from tidal surges, and on how the first refugees from one of the islands are having to relocate because of the rising sea levels.

"The fruit trees that carried mango, banana, breadfruit and paw-paw are all dead from the sea water that has killed their roots and the children survive on a diet of just coconuts and fish. The roots of their black hair turn yellow, signifying malnutrition."

"Grass-roofed huts have been washed away by the tidal surges and families have been forced to move further inland to higher ground, away from the beaches where, in decades past, fishing nets were hung out to dry from waterside homes."

I rather suspect that the small group having to relocate will prove to be the first of an ever increasing number over the coming decades.

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