Solomon Islands Village On Verge Of Disappearing Due To Sea Level Rise

Ogouis, a village of 800 in east Malaita, faces relocation as sea is now under some of their houses

By Lesley Sanga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 7, 2017) – One of the big villages in east Malaita is on the verge of disappearing under the waters – courtesy of rising sea level.

Ogouis a coastal village located on the shorelines of the beautiful Uruhabour.

But years of rising sea level has brought this village of about 800 inhabitants to the brink of disappearance.

“The rising sea is now under some of our houses,” villager Tony Isika told the Sunday Star.

“It’s only a matter of time before these houses collapse,” Isika added.

“Soon, we will have to relocate. There’s no question about that.

“But who will fund our relocation?

“That’s the question we’ve kept asking.”

Isika said most villagers now wanted to relocate, but they need assistance.

“Relocation is not cheap,” he pointed.

“It’s like starting life all over again.

“So we need the government to assist as build new homes.”

Isika said the village used to be many metres away from the shoreline.

But years of rising see level, which dug up the shoreline, had brought Ogou to its ultimate peril.

“Today, the sea is right in front of the village,” Isika said.

“It has destroyed our coconut trees on the coast, while there are houses just about to collapse.”

Ogou is close to Atoifi hospital.

Isika said already, some of their swamp taro gardens have been inundated with salt water.

“Soon, we will have to leave this place and say goodbye to beautiful Ogou.

“That’s the sad reality we face.”

Isika said they have approached authorities many times about relocation but the response was mute.

Malaita Province has many of its low coastal villages and island affected by sea level rise.

On the islands of Fanalei and Walande in the south, people relocating to the mainland.

Several villages in the Langalanga Lagoon are experiencing the same problem.

The national government has promised to assist climate change victims relocate to safer grounds.

But to date, no such assistance has been forthcoming.

Solomon Star
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