The Republic of Kiribati is facing a climatic threat because of which most of its inhabitants will have to relocate to Fiji.
Kiribati is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 100,000 and the island nation is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometers. Kiribati is located very near to the equator and borders the International Date Line at its easternmost point.
Climate experts fear that a possible climatic change could wipe out their Pacific archipelago. The leaders of Kiribati are considering an unusual backup plan: moving the population to Fiji. The mass migration is expected to include younger, skilled workers first, and then the rest of the population would follow over a period of years.
The Associated Press reports that the president of Kiribati recently shared a plan for buying nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, with his cabinet, whose members endorsed it. The government earlier this year started negotiating with Fiji to buy land to where it could move some of its population due to rising sea levels.
The president said that the fertile land was being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million and it could be insurance for Kiribati's 103,000 people, though he hoped it would never be necessary for everyone to leave. He further said, "We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it," adding, "It wouldn't be for me, personally, but would apply more to a younger generation. For them, moving won't be a matter of choice. It's basically going to be a matter of survival."
The government is trying to spread as much awareness as possible in the early stages, so people don’t have to face problems at the eleventh hour. Many residents have already fled to other locations and there have been increasing instances of sea water contaminating the island's underground fresh water. This contamination is hazardous for the entire ecosystem. Similarly, torrential rainfall, storms and floods are going to badly affect the crops and natural habitat. The sea level is also rising and some scientists have estimated the current level of sea rise in the Pacific and this rate is pretty much going to accelerate, according to many scientists.