Wednesday, September 19, 2012

East Timor may take climate refugees

Geraldine Coutts of Radio Australia interviewed the President of Kiribati: The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, has been awarded the 2012 Hillary Laureate for leadership for raising global awareness about the effects of climate change on Pacific Nations.

The Hillary Institute of International leadership says President Tong's tireless efforts have been dramatic and pointed out how big nations are unfairly impacting smaller ones.

Some village communities from Kiribati's 32 pancake-flat coral atolls have had to be re-located because of climate change.

Anote Tong, Kiribati President [said]: "The most severe impact is the waves and the ocean on the shoreline. We've had some villages that have had to be totally relocated. There have been a number of villages now that have had similar problems with intrusion of the seawater into the fresh water ponds affecting food crops and so it's an ongoing but I think more frighteningly it's an increasing phenomenon and that is, I think perhaps, the most worrying factor.

...COUTTS: So a lot more people are in danger?

TONG: Oh I see this as getting worse, as the projected scenario of events as the impact of sea level rise get worse; we can anticipate an increase in frequency of occurrences like this....

...COUTTS: Well what are the choices? Where could you go? Are you negotiating to get land elsewhere?

TONG: Well we've been looking, there haven't been a great numbers of offers coming forward but I'm very happy to say that a number of pacific countries have come forward. East Timor has made a concrete offer and we've yet to discuss that in more detail. This is a new development and it's very encouraging because we don't choose just to go somewhere because we cannot do that...

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