Fiji ranks highly among climate-affected countries

Ratusela Waqanaceva, 14, wades through the seawater flooding his village.(Reuters: Loren Elliot)

Fiji ranks highly amongst Pacific Island Countries affected by rising sea-levels which has resulted in internal displacements of citizens, says a new report released by the Asian Development Bank and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

The report “Disaster Displacement in Asia and the Pacific” ranked the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu as the three most vulnerable countries to the effects of disasters and climate change globally, with Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste ranked highly.

“Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes in the Pacific every year due to the devastating impacts of sudden and slow-onset disasters,” the ADB-IDMC report states.

“Small island states bear the greatest displacement risk relative to their population size.

“Climate change combined with vulnerability, exposed infrastructure, and housing poses an existential threat for some Pacific islands that could see their populations move not only internally but also across borders.

“During 2010−2021, 914,000 internal displacements were recorded in the Pacific, more than half of which were caused by storms, including tropical cyclones.”

The report stated 93,000 displacements were recorded across Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu during tropical cyclone Harold in 2020.

“This cyclone triggered the highest number of disaster displacements in the Pacific during 2010−2021. Tropical cyclones wreak havoc on coastal communities causing 80 per cent of displacements to happen during these six months and triggering flooding and landslides that force inland communities to flee.”

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