Monday, 23 February 2009 5:08 AM

Carteret Islands Residents to Become Climate Refugees Before Year-End

The residents of Carteret Islands, north east of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, are likely to become some of the world's first climate change refugees before the end of the year.

This is according to a report by the Australia Network News.
According to the report, Pacific correspondent, Campbell Cooney, reported that the Autonomous Bougainville Government has begun the searching for land to resettle its residents.

'Rising sea levels means the atolls which make up the Carteret Island group are regularly affected by saltwater flooding, which is destroying fresh water reserves and food gardens, which sustain an estimated 1400 people. But by the end of the year many of them are likely to be amongst the world's first climate refugees, as the Autonomous Bougainville government wants to begin resettling them on mainland Bougainville'.

In 2003, the Papua New Guinean government had authorized a government-funded evacuation of the islands, 10 families at a time and the evacuation was expected to be completed by 2007 but access to adequate funding was a problem.

According to the report by Australia Network News, one of the Autonomous Bougainville Government 's administrator's, Patrick Koles, says its efforts for resettling are being blocked as it's having trouble getting the legal rights to the land it needs.

As it stands, the residents of Carteret Islands are being called the world's first climate refugees, soon to be relocated from their home. And with the current pace of climate change, other islands are soon to follow with the Maldives and Kiribati already announcing plans to relocate as well.

The provided image is from a site by Pip Starr, an independent film maker, who is working on a documentary about the Carteret Islands evacuation.
For more information, please follow this link to the site: http://web.mac.com/pipstarr/starr.tv/Carteret_Islands.html