LUAPEL House of Chiefs representatives in Malaita Outer Islands are calling again on government to relocate their people because of the ongoing threat by climate change.
Chris Keungi told the Solomon Star yesterday that rising sea level and the ongoing bad weather as a result of climate change had already affected their food security and environment of the island.
As such, Keungi said it is high time the government and responsible authorities fastrack the relocation plan for their people before it’s too late.
He said it’s not good for government to ignore their calls because their islands were used as examples when presenting the course of climate change at the United Nations Global Climate Change summit abroad.
From these UN Summits, Solomon Islands have received assistances through Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) to combat climate change in islands most affected by the natural disasters.
Keungi said through the PAC programme, it brought substitutes to their food securities mainly on stable food like taro and coconut.
He said this was because salt water has damaged their taro planted in the swam and caused soil erosion as well.
However, Kuengi said through the PAC programme, they have seen taro and coconut beetles brought in the island which really damaged their food crops.
In 2015, former diplomat, Robert Sisilo, who comes from Sikiana, wants full infrastructure be put in place before actually relocating people from the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) to any given site on the mainland.
Sisilo said much has been talked about on certain locations the Province has identified for possible resettlement of the people of Luaniua, Pelau and Sikaiana.
“We are grateful for that and look forward to having further consultations with a view to reaching an agreement that is sustainable and of mutual benefit to all parties.
“But might I say at the outset that just providing say 100 hectares of land will not necessarily attract a mass movement of people even with the threat of their homes going under water looming,” he said.
Sisilo said: “What they need is the provision of full infrastructure – houses, water supply, clinics, schools that would assist them to settle comfortably in their new adopted homes.”
Malaita’s Premier, Peter Ramohia earlier said his Malaita Alliances for Reform and Transformation (MART) Government is developing the Malaita Climate Change Framework as a priority project.
He said the relocation of Malaitans affected by sea-level rise will be considered as part of this project.
He made this statement as Communities on Ontong Java and Sikaiana have seen a greater focus of Climate Change related programs over the years given their vulnerability in which shoreline erosion and submerging of coastal lands have been happening at a much faster pace than what was witnessed less than 10 years ago.
“But this is something to carefully consider and plan as it involves people and properties.
By EDDIE OSIFELO