Coastal village communities in rural areas and outer islands in the maritime zone must carefully consider the changes brought about by climate change.
Narikoso Village relocation committee chairman, Kelepi Saukitoga made the comment at the 2nd National Climate Change in response to their situation that has affected them.
Climate change has meant the relocation of Narikoso Village to another new setting to ensure villagers survival.
With a 100-plus population the village is in the tikina of Ono in Kadavu and is one of the two national projects identified for relocation because of the constant rising sea level brought about by climate change. This quickly eroded their village boundaries and sea water moved into the village area.
“Rising sea levels and constant changes to our village setting has threatened our daily livelihood and existence of our village and people,” Mr Saukitoga said during a presentation at the 2nd National Climate Change Summit in Nadi.
“Previously when the tide rises, or when it high tide, it reached the water mark and was protected by the sea wall, but now waves have risen above that mark and over the sea wall and have reached the entrance of our houses. We can even stand on the doorway and fish from there.
“People around Fiji must know this fact and must consider carefully their development so that all environment factors are considered carefully.”
A government taskforce team comprising of relevant ministries and department visited the villages and have documented the need to relocate the village. This is why it is very important to inform other village communities about this real and present danger.
“Narikoso has had to move at least 100 meters inland and which means we have had to move away from our sources of living like fishing and etc. But we have no choice.
Mr Saukitoga said while their generation was not to be blamed for what has happened to them.
They just want people of Fiji, especially coastal village communities in the rural and outer-lying islands to know the real effect of climate change.
Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Ropate Ligairi acknowledged the decision by Narikoso Village Relocation Committee to relocate the village as the only option.
He said that village communities need to properly document their development and ensure that long term survival means are considered well.
“Certain factors are associated with this issue of climate change and while I commend the decision made by villagers of Narikoso to relocate, I must remind villager communities to plan well their development and consider these implications to their livelihood,” Mr Ligairi said.