EDITORIAL : Human Cost Of Climate Change
Human cost of climate change
Thirty-three villages have been earmarked to be relocated, a direct result of climate change.
These villages have seen their shores disappearing as a result of rising sea levels; endured massive landslides amongst other horrors directly related to changing weather patterns.
Changes that have left our villages and villagers vulnerable.
This is a reality. Tropical Cyclone Winston a year ago was a reality and more category five cyclones may form in near future because of the changing weather patterns.
One village – Vunidogoloa Village in Cakaudrove – has already been relocated because of the effects of climate change.
These Fijians in Cakaudrove had to leave behind land they grew up on and move on. Thirty new houses had to be rebuilt on the new site.
The next on the list are Narikoso Village in Kadavu and Waciwaci Village in Lakeba which are subject to survey from Government officials.
These villagers were farmers and fishers. More will be affected as more villages relocate.
Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Naipote Katonitabua who has been overseeing the relocation efforts has also been at the helm of ensuring that villagers learn new skills to earn a living.
He said Government and civil society organisations (CSO) have stepped in to assist them in terms of their resources and skills sets available.
For instance, in Koro, the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and Integrated Human Resource Development (IHRD) ran a programme to replant voivoi (pandanus leaves) for the making of mats.
Coupled with some voivoi bought from other islands through this programme, the women were divided into groups and each produced a set of mats (nai-vivi) each.
UNDP and IHRD then arranged for its transportation to Suva, provided the markets for its purchase and sent the money collected back to the women in Koro with each nai-vivi selling for $1000 each.