The small island nation of Kiribati has strong infrastructure plans that are promoted by one of its former presidents, Anote Tong.
The studies have shown that the 33 atolls and reef islands of Kiribati will be inundated in the next decades, as most of the lands have an altitude of under six feet.
The country has 110,000 residents that will have to be relocated to higher grounds, as vast areas of their land will soon become uninhabitable.
A World Bank report shows that half of the surface of Bikenibeu, a settlement in the southeastern corner of Tarawa atoll, will be under waters by 2050. The reasons will be the rising sea level and storm surges.
Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati, had emerged as a staunch supporter for low-lying island nations.
In December, during the Paris UN climate change discussions, Anote Tong announced an ambitious plan to help the countries from the Pacific Islands to adapt to climate change consequences.
The project is called “Pacific Rising.” The former president explains that a general plan was needed because the measures taken by the international community against climate change did not have the predicted results. It may be too late for the people living in the Pacific islands.
The UN declared that the local governments do not want to start a plan for relocation because they want to make sure the big companies will continue to act responsible and take measures for reducing pollution. Otherwise, the whole island territory could be forever lost.
The UN nations started to keep their December promises and provided financial help for the Pacific people, as the small countries drafted massive development plans. Among those, there are plans drinking water infrastructures and disaster preparedness.
Kiribati will work with engineers from the United Arab Emirates, as they already have experience in artificial floating islands. The first actions will be to deposit sand in order to raise the elevation and to dredge the lagoons.
The former president stresses the fact that Kiribati, a country with an economy based on fishing licenses, worker remittances, and tourism, contributed nothing to climate change. Even so, it has to deal with the most severe consequences of the warming temperatures and the rising of the sea level.
While he was still a president, Anote Tong bought land in Fiji which may be used to relocate people from Kiribati. However, relocation is seen as a solution of last resort. The plan is to continue to help the inhabitants of the islands preserve their lifestyle and their ancient territory.
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