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Over 100,000 people are on the brink of being swallowed by the sea

Updated on March 21, 2015
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Over 100,000 people are in danger of being swallowed

When we swallow food down the mouth, the food goes down our stomach and is seen no more. In like manner, if a place like Kiribati is swallowed by the sea, it will go down under water and will not be seen anymore. It will no longer be a part of the map. All of its living things will perish. Can you see the danger?

Location of the Republic of Kiribati
Location of the Republic of Kiribati

Location and climate of Kiribati

Kiribati, pronounced as Kiribas is composed of several islands of varying shapes and sizes. It is located at the point where the equator meets the international date line in the central pacific ocean. It lies in a band of weather known as doldrums, and thus enjoys a calm, warm and humid climate.

South Tarawa is capital and biggest of the 33 -island republic.
South Tarawa is capital and biggest of the 33 -island republic.

Facts about the Republic of Kiribati

  • Formerly Gilbert Islands or Gilberts, it works for its independence and was granted on July 12, 1979 by the United Kingdom.
  • Here's an article re its 33rd anniversary (July 12, 2012) celebration.
  • It carries the name Republic of Kiribati, with a combined total land area of 328 square miles, bigger by 25 square miles than the size of New York City.
  • Kiribati’s land area is spread in 32 atolls and 1 raised island (33 islands all in all).
  • The Phoenix islands are uninhabited.
  • Almost 50% of the 103,100 residents live in the capital of Tarawa.
  • Others live in the Gilbert islands.

Anote Tong, president of Kiribati is concerned about the plight of his people, 103,000 i-Kiribati.
Anote Tong, president of Kiribati is concerned about the plight of his people, 103,000 i-Kiribati.


  • The Republic of Kiribati has a unicameral parliament with 46 members.
  • Its president is both head of government and head of state.
  • He appoints his/her own Cabinet, comprising of a Vice President, Attorney-General and no more than ten ministers.
  • Mr.Anote Tong was re-elected for a third term as President. He has been in office since 2003. This will be his last

Rock-phospate mining in Banaba, Kiribati
Rock-phospate mining in Banaba, Kiribati


  • Kiribati relies heavily on license fees from distant water fishing nations and
  • remittances from Kiribati citizens employed abroad, mainly as seafarers.
  • Another major resource is the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF),which stores earnings from phosphate mining in Banaba.
  • The RERF was established in 1956 by the British administration

Mat weaving
Mat weaving

Other means of livelihood

I-kiribati do small-scale industries, like planting and cultivating taro, harvesting coconuts and pandanus, weaving mats, hats, etc

These people are blessed by God. They have all the sunshines and the fresh balmy air which are vital for healthful living. The peace and quiet which people missed and longed for in crowded metropolis are at their fingertips. They raised coconuts and fruits for food and for sale. They’ve abundant fish and other edible marine life around the island. They’re thankful to the Almighty for almost providing them everything.

Destroyed seawall one of climate change ill-effects in Kiribati
Destroyed seawall one of climate change ill-effects in Kiribati


  • However, hardy people they maybe, they’re in constant fear of their lives.
  • Dangers are ever present.
  • Earthquakes, especially tsunamis are a threat.
  • Kiribati is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.
  • The islands average elevation is less than two meters above sea level.

Purchase lot in Viti Levu, Fiji, for resettlement
Purchase lot in Viti Levu, Fiji, for resettlement

Plan of Resettlement

  • Cognizant of these meteorological problems, Pres. Anote Tong and his officials hatch a plan to relocate their populace to the neighboring island of Fiji.
  • They are aware that climate change and rising sea levels will swallow their homes one day.
  • Their going down the ocean is inevitable.
  • According to the Associated Press, Kiribati President Anote Tong said on Friday that his cabinet has endorsed a plan to buy a piece of land in Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. Measuring nearly 6,000 acres, the fertlle land could accommodate Kiribati’s entire population of 103,100.
  • Sold by a church group, the lot costs $9.6 million.

Implementation as need arises
Implementation as need arises

Plan of Implementation

Tong hopes not to put everyone on one piece of land nor necessary for everyone to leave their homeland, but if things come to worst, yes, they could do it, he said. For them, moving won’t be a matter of choice. Basically, it would be a matter of survival.

Tong said some villages have already moved. Sea water comes so often contaminating Kiribati’s underground fresh water, undermining the island’s supply for personal needs, trees and crops.

Pres. Tong disclosed changing rainfall, tidal and storm patterns and ocean levels pose a threat to their survival.

Pacific sea islands of Kiribati are  threatened by rising sea level
Pacific sea islands of Kiribati are threatened by rising sea level

More vital data

  • Some scientists have placed the current level of sea rise in the Pacific at about 2 millimeters (0.1 inches) per year.
  • Many scientists expect that rate to accelerate due to climate change.
  • Fiji, home to about 854,000 people, is about 1,400 miles south of Kiribati.
  • To provide a home to thousands of their neighbors is an issue which is yet unclear to the Fijians.
  • Meanwhile President Tong expects the parliamentary approval for the land purchase to be finished in April, before discussing the plan formally with Fijian officials.

Facts and Figures

Official Name Republic of Kiribati
Population 103,100
Capital City South Tarawa
Languages I-Kiribati, English (official)
Official Currency Australian Dollar
Religions Catholic-52%, Protestant-40% others
Land Area 849 sq km (328 sq miles)
Latitude/Longitude 1� 33N, 172� 99E
Highest Point 266 ft. (81 m)

Source: The Extinction Protocol

To cap what you've just read, try to view this video to see in totality the beauty God has endowed to this string of Pacific islands called KIRIBATI.


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    • nick071438 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines

      cjxt001, thanks for the offer and sorry for the delete. your stuff not allowed.

      Charles Hilton and point2make, I welcome and appreciate your comments. Thanks to both of you for the visit.

    • point2make profile image


      6 years ago

      It would be a very difficult way to live knowing that the sea will, one day, claim your home. The alternatives are few. The Fiji land purchase would be a sort of insurance policy but will there be "problems" with the people of Fiji when 103,000 "neighbors" make a permanent move to Fiji? This is a problem the UN can and should be working on. Very informative hub....thank-you voted up.

    • profile image

      Charles Hilton 

      6 years ago

      It is unfortunate that peoples who have not contributed to climate change have to suffer for the willful ignorance and wanton disregard of other nations who prefer to deny the reality of global warming rather than scale back their irresponsible lifestyles.

      My best hopes and wishes are with the beautiful people of Kiribati.


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