Tuvalu News


 

Tuvalu Seeks New Home?
July 20 2003
The Sun-Herald

The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, one of the world's most low-lying countries, is considering evacuating its 9300 residents.

With a highest point just five metres above sea level, Tuvalu is one of the world's most
low-lying countries. Half its population is crammed on the 30-hectare Funafuti atoll, which is only three metres above the waves.

With global sea levels predicted to rise by more than 80 centimetres over the next century, Tuvaluans are living on borrowed time. The only solution, said the government, is to transport the entire population overseas.

"We don't know when the islands will be completely covered," says secretary to the Tuvalu government Panapasi Nelesone. "But we need to start working on this now."

Nearly 3000 Tuvaluans already live overseas, and a government program is now relocating 75 more every year.

Tofiga Falani, president of the Tuvalu Congregational Church, said that urgent action is needed. "We must know that someone will be able to provide land for us, before a storm washes our islands away altogether," he said.

He is in Melbourne this week lobbying Australia to set aside land to serve as a new home for Tuvalu's people when they finally quit their nine inhabited atolls.



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