Kiribati people face displacement again as King tide looms

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Wellington, NEW ZEALAND – August 30, 2019: 10am (RNZI): Since January after the aftermath of the King tide that affected four most Southern islands of Kiribati; more families living along the coastal areas in this island nation may once again be internally displaced on Saturday morning, 31 August 2019 from the extreme king tide now recorded unprecedentedly at 2.93 meters.

The government of Kiribati had issued out warning earlier last week to residents of this small island nation for precautionary measures.

Mr Natan Itonga – a Kiribati resident, educator and curator shared a powerfully poetic email update this Friday morning on what’s happening right now on Tarawa; the capital island of Kiribati which is home to about over 50,000 residents.

Friday morning 30th August 2019

The roar of the breaking surf over the top of the shoreline beyond the beach woke me up in this early part of the morning, 5.00 am as it pushes itself up between the lines of coconuts and pandanus trees.

Yes, it’s already levelling itself higher than normal spring high tide record…

The roosters’ crow high tunes, the dogs barking rap beats while the surf sound the drums and cymbals…the morning breaks the sky!

The SUPERMOON signalled “I’m coming!”

The Kiribati Climate Action Network (KiriCAN) National Coordinator, Ms Pelenise Alofa reported that vulnerable communities on Tarawa have been building up seawalls since yesterday. The sea water had encroached 100 meters inland; seeping into water wells, destroying plants and caused flooding.

“Urgent pragmatic responses to build resilience of affected communities before the king tide hits Kiribati on Saturday morning at 5am is needed. Supporting vulnerable grassroots communities build and strengthen their seawalls is a priority now as well provision of rain water tanks for the hundreds of communities whose water wells are already inundated. Many of these communities would require assistance in any form and the KiriCAN is currently coordinating realistic actions on the ground. The longer term ambition is to build climate proof houses for affected communities that are elevated safe from the rampages of the waves so that young people, women and everyone are not affected psychologically from such experiences”, she said

The Tarawa based Climate NGO that works with over 200 Community based organizations in Kiribati on Climate Change and Adaptation is coordinating with the Pacific Climate Warriors and other networks and partners on collective relief efforts.

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