NEWS

Climate Watch: Sea Inundation Brings Out Human Bones, Skulls

The bones have emerged be­cause of sea inundation into the burial ground of their forefathers.
30 Jan 2022 16:00
Climate Watch: Sea Inundation Brings Out Human Bones, Skulls
Viliame Taufa talks about the impact of climate change on his village. Photo: Wati Talebula

Children of Nasoki village, Moala in the Lau group playfully pick up human bones and skulls along the shores of their village from time to time.

They don’t scare them anymore.

The bones are gathered, wrapped in a piece of masi and buried in­land.  The bones have emerged be­cause of sea inundation into the burial ground of their forefathers.

“All we can do is collect the bones and bury them again,” 65-year-old Viliame Taufa said.

Exposed roots of trees line what used to be a picturesque beach.

Mr Taufa said their beachfront has reduced in size.  He pointed to climate change as the cause.

“I lived in Suva before I retired and returned to the village. Every­thing has changed and I know that something must be done about it.

“Before we used to sit by the beach and throw our fishing line and we could take home at least three bun­dles of fish.

“Now, we can’t catch any fish by the beach. We must go further into the sea to catch fish. Now, we must buy premix and hire a dinghy and that costs us money too,” Mr Taufa, a former trucker said.

 

Exposed coconut tree roots along the shoreline of Nasoki village, Moala in the Lau group. Photo: Wati Talebula

Exposed coconut tree roots along the shoreline of Nasoki village, Moala in the Lau group. Photo: Wati Talebula

There are 32 homes and 132 villag­ers in Nasoki.  They depend on the sea for survival.

“Before, we used to catch big fish, but now we are lucky if we catch at least one big one.  The sizes of our catch have decreased every year.”

The worst-case scenario for Mr Taufa is the scarcity of what they get from the sea.

Salinity has also become a prob­lem for fruit trees and vegetables planted around their homes.

“Fiji has been experiencing cli­mate change and there are others who are saying otherwise. We are feeling it, and something must be done about it before it is too late.”

Relocation has also been dis­cussed among villagers.  If they move, it will be the second time they relocate.

“Our forefathers relocated from a flat land near the beach to where we are now because of the sea level rise and if we don’t do anything we will have to relocate again,” Mr Taufa said.

A daily reminder for villagers of the power of nature is the fishing vessel that was shipwrecked a few years ago outside the reef.

It is now only meters from their beachfront.

“The waves have brought it closer and closer inland,” Mr Taufa said.

 

Nasoki villagers carry rations supplied by the National Disaster Management Office to shore. Behind them is the shipwrecked fishing vessel. Photo: Wati Talebula

Nasoki villagers carry rations supplied by the National Disaster Management Office to shore. Behind them is the shipwrecked fishing vessel. Photo: Wati Talebula

Nasoki villagers are not alone in this climate fight.  Across Fiji and the Pacific, the story is the same.

Countries that contribute the least to the warming of our planet are the worst affected.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fifth As­sessment Report –  a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from across the globe concluded that 95 percent probability of human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.

The commitment from big emit­ters is key.

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj



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