Climate change displaces Pacific Islanders

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Locals in Tebikenikora, a village in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Climate change is changing people's lives and their relationship with the ocean in the Pacific Islands.

That's what Dr. Jenny Newell, Assistant Curator of Pacific Ethnology Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History told reporters at UN Headquarters on Monday.

Dr. Newell said that in her research at the museum she is studying the impacts of climate change on the culture of islanders in the Pacific.

"Many islanders are having already to relocate from their islands as sea level rise and the inundation of salt water and increasing number of severe weather events has made life in some of the islands, the low-lying atolls and other low-lying islands untenable. So some islanders have already have to leave the Carteret Islands and move to Bergenville which is a very difficult move because Bougainville is still a very civil war-torn area. People are preparing to leave from Kiribati and Tuvalu." (27")

Dr. Newell said Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are at most two metres above sea level, are very threatened islands that are predicted to be under water in the next fifty years or even earlier.

The United Nations observed World Oceans Day on Saturday 8 June to highlight the importance of this part of the planet.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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