Pacific Islanders in Soloman islands go homeless as their habitats fall prey to severe sea level rise and coastal erosion. These sudden climatic changes have claimed five reef islands to completely vanish since 1947 and other six are facing shoreline recession .The sea level measured in millimetres showed a 3.5 mm per year rise ,according to study conducted in pacific region. Diverging the 3mm rise as global average the Soloman islands have been foreseeing a 7- 10 mm rise from the past 20 years , approximately since 1993.
Reasons for damage:
- The rising invariable climatic changes and the natural trade wind cycle that physically pushes the sea water on to the shores is the reason for the relocation of families from the islands which have evanesced to 20 to 62 percent.
- Among the six eroded ones two have been completely washed off creating a much tenser situation.
- The amount of wave energy experienced by the islands affects the extent of inundation ,higher wave energy along with rising sea levels creates more damage rather than otherwise .Out of 21 islands studied by researchers exposed to higher wave energy five completely diminished and other six brutally destroyed. Twelve islands studied under low wave energy were less prone to damage when exposed to similar sea rising levels.
The lost five islands namely Kakatina, Kale, Rapita, Rehana and Zollies were mostly habitat to wildlife and oftenly visited by fishers and were 1-5 hectares in area. The current six which on verge of their apocalypse may affect the human to a much greater extent.
“We studied the coastlines of 33 reef islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947–2015. This information was integrated with local traditional knowledge, radiocarbon dating of trees, sea level records, and wave models.”said Simon Albert from University of Queensland who also predicts the same fate for the rest of the globe in the coming half of the century owing to sudden climatic changes and rising sea levels.
The study is the first that scientifically “confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people,” the researchers wrote in separate commentary on an academic website.
Relocation and Help
- The most populated island Nuambu has witnessed disappearance of 11 families since 2011 and is now home to 25 native families. The families had to manage ad-hoc relocation . Moreover some had to relocate to volcanic eruption prone areas.
- Sirilo Sutaroti, 94, is among those who had to relocate from Nararo. He told researchers: “The sea has started to come inland, it forced us to move up to the hilltop and rebuild our village there away from the sea.”
- Soloman Islands a nation to hundreds of Islands and home to a population of 640000 was among the 175 countries who signed a global agreement to curb climate change in Paris.
- The head of Soloman Islands’ Disaster National Council Melchior Mataki invited support from development partners and international financial mechanisms such as Green Climate Fund which is a part of United Nations Framework convention on climate change was founded to help countries deal with climate change.