Accessing Climate Change Funding A Challenge For Fiji

Commonwealth Health Ministers told climate change affecting health of Islanders

By Losalini Bolatagici

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 8, 2016) – Accessing climate change funds remains a challenge for Fiji.

This was revealed by Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate at a recent Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva. He explained that climate change was threatening human life in the Pacific.

He told the meeting of the two Category 5 cyclones that struck the Pacific in 2015 and 2016 — TC Pam and Winston — and said that this had never happened before. In Fiji's case, Severe TC Winston affected 41 per cent of the population and destroyed or damaged about 25 per cent of all health facilities.

"Without access to such funds, the Pacific Island countries are hindered in their ability to adapt to the impact of climate change on our health facilities and systems" Mr Usamate said.

"Climate change is affecting the ability of our health systems to respond to the crisis. One severe event can wipe out most of the health infrastructure in a small Pacific Island nation."

He said climate change not only contributed towards major health issues, but it was destroying the ability of human beings to continue living in many Pacific Islands.

"Some of our islands have already disappeared and many are severely threatened and becoming uninhabitable."

Mr Usamate thanked members of the Commonwealth who helped Fiji during Severe TC Winston, and stressed on the negative impacts of climate change on health in the Pacific.

The Health Minister, as the chair of the Pacific Health Ministers forum, was part of a four-member panel discussion at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting last week.

Fiji Times Online.
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