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Kumi Seawall Visit An Eye Opener for Climate Change Experts

Seeing the effects of climate change first hand can change the way people think rather than just reading about it, observed a United Nations climate change expert. Director for Strategy
02 Feb 2017 10:47
Kumi Seawall Visit An Eye Opener for Climate Change Experts
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Inia Seruratu with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat representatives and Government officials at the Kumi Village seawall, Verata, Tailevu yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Seeing the effects of climate change first hand can change the way people think rather than just reading about it, observed a United Nations climate change expert.

Director for Strategy at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat Halldór Thorgeirsson was part of a delegation who visited Kumi Village in Tailevu yesterday.

The delegation had attended a three-day Planning Meeting to prepare Fiji in its role to preside over COP 23. The meeting ended yesterday.

The Kumi visit is part of Government’s efforts in showing our climate change adaptation efforts.

Kumi Village has over the years battled the impacts of climate change having being relocated further inland after sea level rise took over much of its original site, like the rara (village green).

Mr Thorgeirsson said Fiji in trying to mobilise global action on climate change and reducing its risk and being prepared was “what we’re precisely doing here and the Government is showing leadership on this”.

The world Climate Change representatives who visited the village witnessed a seawall project funded by Government. They learned that on this location, homes, trees and part of the village green, were once there. The seawall cost $300,000. It is about 200 metres long and 2.5meters high.

The village is one of the most impacted areas in Fiji that has faced the brunt of climate change.

And the project is part of the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management’s mitigating initiative to counter the effects of rising sea level. It also enables the community to be more resilient.

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu said: “This is the third seawall constructed in the village over the years, so climate change is not new to us.”

Mr Seruiratu is from Kumi Village.

Village headman, Jona Koroiwaqa, 58, said, they were grateful for Government’s mitigating initiative.

“Trees and houses that were once on the foreshore have been swept away by the waves because of the effects of climate change. We are very fortunate to be provided with the seawall,” he said.

Kumi Village has 85 houses and 253 villagers.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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