Kiribati President warns "calamity awaits low-lying islands"Listen /
The existential threat hanging over the island nation of Kiribati is still very real, its President Anote Tong told world leaders on Wednesday.
During an afternoon session at the United Nations General Assembly, President Tong explained that the fight against the onslaught of the rising seas and storm surges continue.
It has an impact on the country's water supplies, on peoples' homes, livelihoods and public infrastructure, he added.
“The scientists tell us that calamity awaits, and not just for those of us on low-lying islands. What we are experiencing now on these low-lying atolls is an early warning of what will happen further down the line. No one will be spared. We cannot continue to abuse our planet in this way. For the future we want for our children and grandchildren, we need leadership. We need commitment. And we need action …. NOW.”
President Tong said they are calling with urgency on development partners to assist in efforts to deal with the impacts of climate change and sea level rise now being experienced in the Pacific islands, and in efforts to prepare their people for an uncertain future. He said the ocean is a double edged sword for them in Kiribati. Sea level rise threatens the very survival of the people. But the ocean is also an integral part of lives and provides daily sustenance for our people.
A High Level Summit on Climate Change has been convened by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2014.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.