Kiribati climate-induced migration to start in five years

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People will have to start leaving Kiribati within five years because rising seas are making life there unsustainable.

The country's outgoing president Anote Tong said the accelerating effects of climate change meant he had given up dealing with the day-to-day issues to concentrate on finding creative solutions for his low-lying country.

He told a climate change conference in Wellington those include building up the atolls, floating islands and buying land in Fiji.

Tong said he had also tried to motivate the 100,000 strong population to prepare and adapt themselves for what he calls migration with dignity.

“People are getting quite scared now and we need immediate solutions. This is why I want to rush the solutions so there will be a sense of comfort for our people. They can sleep even when the tide is high.”

Tong said there had been some criticism of Kiribati's purchase of land in Fiji, but he said its main value has been the international publicity and giving his people a sense of security.