Rising sea levels threatening Viti Levu

sea levels

The archbishop of Suva, Peter Loy Chong, says parts of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, are on course to disappear because of rising sea levels.

He said: “We can see it with our own eyes – the ocean levels are increasing each year, so the island [of Viti Levu] is disappearing.”

The archbishop said “Pacific Islanders are suffering from the impacts of climate change. Climate change is a matter of survival.”

He said: “How am I going to tell my people that they have to learn to live with this?”

He added: “My people are weeping. Who will dry their tears?”

Referring to the rising tides, he said: “It’s not just a random event.

“On the contrary, in the coming years, people living in 34 coastal villages in Fiji face upheavals that will force them to relocate their homes, due to the rise in sea level.”

Chong explained that authorities have scheduled entire village populations to be moved from along the coast to areas inland, including hills and mountain regions.

He said: “Fiji’s government has identified these villages as susceptible to the effects of the changes in the next five to 10 years.

“One village in the province of Bua has already been relocated to Yadua and there are plans to move the village of Tavea soon.”

Chong was speaking in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, after attending a conference in Rome related to the anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.

Chong said: “Ecological conversion doesn’t happen in isolation. The conversion also has to be something internal in the heart of each individual.”

He added: “Creation is a gift but at the same time [it is] a responsibility that God has given us to take care of.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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