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Kiribati: a drowning paradise in the South Pacific | DW Documentary


It’s low tide on Tarawa the main atoll of the island nation of kira bas
Ta Tata and his three sons have just a few hours before the water returns
There are no stones on the beach anymore and that’s why we have to go far out
We need to get coral because the sea is flooding our house
The home of tear tartar and his family of 12 is under threat 10 years ago, they started building a wall made of coral
When the water comes all the way up to here and there’s a strong wind that’s when it’s worst
And the water bashes against our wall and sprays over our whole house. We have to build a higher wall
So the water doesn’t flood our home
In the past our wall kept breaking because it was only this high now it’s higher and more stable
It protects us from the sea many walls collapse at high tide, but we’re lucky our walls still standing
In just 30 years tear tates wall could cease to offer any protection from the sea
The island state of carry bass is one of the lowest lying countries on earth the narrow
Unprotected atolls in the South Pacific are on average only 2 metres above sea level
the nation consists of 33 such attles spread out between Hawaii and Australia
more than half its hundred thousand residents live on the Tarawa Atoll, but for how much longer
Climate change is threatening the people of Kiribati
Sea levels are rising storm surges and severe tropical storms are flooding the sparsely populated
country with increasing frequency
For the locals, it’s a question of survival
Climate change has national priority for the government of Kira bas
Joy, eating has been the official climate commissioner since 2010. He’s alarmed by the changes caused by climate change
It is warned that you know
the community has to live in these conditions, you know, um, I would imagine you know,
there would be a lot of uh sanitation problems a lot of
contamination of the
drinkable water
Right now we don’t really
Have a king tide, you know, you know rising sea, you know
They will let the during this period but imagine when it does come, you know
And and that little seawall there is fully, you know submerged by by by water
One day the people of Kiribati will have to leave their country the government has already purchased land on Fiji to provide them with refuge
Everyday to Tower and his three brothers have to carry their fishing boat into the sea. It’s hard work
As you can see this area’s flooded all this from here to all the way back there used to be beach
Now the beach is gone and the rocks are washed up. That’s why we have to move our boat everyday. Otherwise, it would get smashed
The family defies the rising sea levels with a coral wall that resembles a fortress
But with that the water is rising and rising
Eventually the land over there will disappear, but we’ll stay and float like an island in the water
Tower and his family have become a symbol of Kira bosses’ fight for survival
His mother my entire and her granddaughter Anna often reminisce about the times before they were affected by climate change
Twenty years ago the sea was far away we were safe back then even at high tide the water only reached this far
We used to have a lot of trees. Our land was much greener. We had no idea we’d have to live like this one day
The access road has been flooded for years the family can only leave their property by boat
But so what when I was little life here was really good there were lots of trees under which we played hide-and-seek
I’ve heard that other countries are causing climate change, but I don’t hate those people
It that way I see it differently the Western countries are doing many things to cause climate change they’re to blame
All I can do is ask them to stop
The sea is increasingly devouring unprotected tracts of land in the middle of the South Pacific
This isn’t a safe place for the future
When we have a high tide and a big storm the water smashes into the seawall and sprays over the top
During storm surges which occur once a month these days the people of Kiribati
defenseless against the forces of nature
I’m scared that the water will continue to rise. Maybe we’ll have to leave here one day and live elsewhere if climate change gets worse
a
Mangrove forest in the south of Tarawa
There knots of thin strong roots make these tropical trees the perfect protection against soil erosion
With a group of young people climate activists varsity team Amari wants to plant mangroves on the beach at amble during low tide
Will plant 15 rows
You have to plant the mangroves are hands width apart
The city has been organizing a growing number of such volunteer planting events
Okay, these are the seats from the mangroves and we picked them up and then these are the ones that we used to plant them
And then they grow again we take three in case cuz when we replant them
the waves will come and maybe two will be flooded away at least one will stay and be and will live so that’s why we
Take three all the time
The people of Tarawa have already planted more than 50,000 mangroves on the beaches of the at all
The young people here have grown up with climate change they’re scared
Period important
I
Just don’t want to see Milan get round everything. Yes in my village way I live goes after
The future prospects for Curie basses young people are dire, but none of them want to leave their home
I’m so proud of you killing us
Even though what we faced with it still proud of a country. This is where we belong
It’s our culture our identities. That’s why I think this is where our hearts belong
The hope is that these
Mangroves on Ambo Beach will grow into a forest like the one that helps defy storm surges in the south of Tarawa
Protecting the coastline has become a national priority for the people of Kiribati
But there’s no coherent plan and the government lacks the funds for long-term infrastructure measures
Those who can afford concrete have built a wall at their own expense
That’s what it in when we has done a young entrepreneur from the village of table Oreo. I
Think climate change will only get worse in the future
One day Curie bars will drown when other people think differently, but I’m scared by what’s happening. We have to protect ourselves
That’s why we’re building the seawall this high
The sea is calm today, but it’s only a matter of time before the next storm surge arrives
Terawatt is home to around 60,000 people more than half the country’s entire population
Livable land is becoming increasingly sparse says climate activists of a city
Compared to ten years ago it not just like bliss people stayed in their homelands, but nowadays people
migrate from there for a better future
They give me a poor education for where for everything, and now it ended up like this and one live closely to each other
In addition to climate change overpopulation is one of the biggest problems on Tarawa
This is easily passed from one person to another and especially with the future of the kids
The governments have a limits resource
It can’t employ each and every one of them on average a family here has five to six children
Almost every square meter of land on Tarawa has now been built on the main thing
That is strengthening us is the sea level rise. We have land erosion
The sea is taking most of the lands and people here try whatever they have to build sea walls
But it doesn’t help when the water comes. No one can stop the water. It just comes and then take away all the lands again
In 2014 the effects of global warming on kiri bus attracted international attention
Yo, annotate iota made a bid to become the world’s first climate change refugee when he applied for asylum in New Zealand
The government of New Zealand didn’t recognise climate change as grounds for asylum
They didn’t think that the people of kerry bus were threatened by nature and forced to flee as a result
Yawara and his family were deported from New Zealand a year later
Even though the situation in their home country has been getting progressively worse. It was a shock for the family
What scares me is that our land is low-lying we’re surrounded by the sea
And it’s being washed away around us
Yoanna and his family have moved in with his sister, but they don’t see a future for themselves on Kiera bas
My biggest worry is my children. I want them to be safe. We don’t want to wait until the end
Many people criticize me for trying to be a climate change refugee saying I’m talking my country down
But I want to leave again. It doesn’t matter where we live our culture will survive with us
Kirra buses first inhabitants settled here around three thousand years ago. The majority came from Southeast Asia and Polynesia
The locals are a proud people who are attached to their traditions
a
By an atoll around 50 kilometers to the north of Tarawa is a different world, it’s only sparsely populated
The village of tübingen Akko has become a symbol of the impending dangers of climate change
Over the past 20 years rising sea levels have destroyed kebab Jon’s home
Long time ago this is that land before and they used to have money a big house for like gathering people
parties occasions and all the people before they live here and now they all move to
tada the mainland
Topanga narco is still home to 70 families. It was the second largest village on a by, yang
Rising salinity from daily flooding has made the soil infertile
Before I don’t care about climate change when I hate about climate chat at all
It’s nothing and now I see the difference
You know the impact and it’s like worrying me and I know I’m thinking maybe I’m gonna move migrate to another
Australia or New Zealand another country
because the sea rising they’re always increasing I
Have two kids and then when I look for the kid then maybe I should move
But Cabo wants to stay. It’s not a question of courage. He just feels connected to his home
We are from Kiev s we are proud to be the best we want to die here
We don’t want to go to overseas. We want to stay here
When we move our culture we would be disappear
There are lots of people on a buying who don’t have work
Cabarrus here on behalf of the government his job is to show people how to make palm sugar
Hambo gonna be I know there was an
Ogre boa is looking for a worker named Turk. Amber
Palm sugar is obtained from the SAP known locally as 2 D of the palm blossom
Tech amber has to climb to the top of a 20 meter coconut palm to collect it
I’m do you mean up tech amber has three bottles of Tori’s so far?
That’s enough for now
Cibola learned how to make palm sugar in Thailand the government of kiri bas financed his training
The Kirov US government also paid for the equipment here. This is a idea first one Accord them
Up until now locals have only used the fresh palm syrup for drinks
No, we’re going to apply the fresh water a fresh story
so Connor
we want to eat we operate those, you know the water in the in uh,
In the in the doggy so that we can crystallize the doggy
Become suka, you know the soft parts
The island of ABBA, yang is the perfect place for producing palm sugar there are thousands of coconut palms across the 37 kilometers
You know cobra-cabra cutting as a source of income so our con men try to find ways
which can help people like to win more money and this is one of the
One of the income no income for the farmers
It takes seven liters of SAP to produce one kilogram of palm sugar
This is how you have to do it when you’ve reached this point, the fire mustn’t be too hot
You have to stir it the whole time
Watch how I do it
You have to push the tody up the side until it becomes hard and powdery
The palm sugar from a by yang is set to be sold for five euros per kilo
We’ll continue with this work we can earn money that way and we can use that money to feed our families or
He could be one this one is really quickly
The government has plans to export the palm sugar from a bi hang around the world cub
Our secured important contacts at the World’s Fair in Milan in 2015
This is the sugar from your palm sap, this is what it looks like
You want to try it
What do you think of the new sugar it’s not bad, right?
Do you like it it tastes like candy this sugar is really different much more delicious
Traditional caravans recipes are increasingly fading from memory
women’s rights activists and nutritionists Tonga fitty cross wants to fight that trend to
Teach them how to eat food and how to prepare food with this
they never do it before and
to using the leaves in the
Hips that they am their own country and they never use it because they don’t know it that they eat a bowl
You can use these palm leaves in many different ways not just to swat flies
We’ll wrap them around the fish
Rip the leaves into two when you cook these leaves a liquid comes out that’s very good for the stomach
any guy
Gonna fold the leaves like this and wrap the fish
company
nylon
Fish has been prepared like this on kiri bass for generations
He usually eats right food before but they went they imported food comes and that’s where
things has gone wrong because in
Garages that the hospital is full of people to sick people and we try to cut down there the people too sick
you know and receive the rightful so cut on tiem lack of vitamin Cynthia and their food and not
The acanti they can’t prevent any any disease
You can eat every part of the squash the flower the stem the skin the seeds when you cut the squash
Make sure you don’t cut the slices too thickly
Why do we want a lot of hugs in our soup?
All these herbs have medicinal properties
Your bodies take in these herbs and you get healthier, yeah, yeah, you’re gonna okay not even oh boy
You’re not just making a meal. You are also making medicine dropper toy
America Dharma pingatore America tour today at
Two-thirds of kirov asses population consumes a staple diet of fish and imported rice a diet increasingly
supplemented with high sugar foods
Leading to rising rates of obesity and diabetes
Soon-im got a body. I thank Tonga Fiji for this cooking class. I know more about cooking now
I have a young daughter at home
I’ll cook with a lot of herbs and vegetables now so that she grows up healthy
Up until now, we’ve only used these herbs for our customs. We didn’t know you could cook them
You can find everything she’s showing us in the jungle. It’s grandma one dependend afternoon everyone like their net out
Nutritionist Tonga feet across his mission is far from over. She wants to share her knowledge in every village on a by, yang
Traditional community centers on kiri bars are called man Yaiba the structures provide shade and protection
Against strong winds and rain a Vienna is home to one of the largest manga bars in the region the environmental protection organization
Kiri kan has invited representatives from several villages together. They’re seeking ways to ensure potable water supplies
So it is so important that we know that water is fresh water is clean
And what is good for everyone so that we can all live long as a PK best people?
Climate activists of our city is also working to combat the salinization of drinking water
Dorian never but it burns
Sometimes see water flows into my well and floods it all the dirt gets in we have no water to drink
Our groundwater used to be fresh and clean we could drink it today it’s salty and unpalatable to
Wells near the sea are flooded quite
Regularly and become spoiled by the salt if we were to wash with that water you’d feel like washing and sea water
The salinity of water supplies isn’t the only problem supplying clean drinking water is another challenge
village representatives present their solutions
We opted for this solar pump to make it work. We need equipment such as pipes to pump the well water to the houses
We’ll get the one about we thought about what would be the best solution for everyone that’s why we chose a desalination plant
We need a hand pump to supply ourselves with water
You’ve suggested a number of ideas. It’s important that the solution is cheap and will work for a long time
We’re going to lay out all of your criteria on the floor here
Which solution will win?
The village delegates are asked to vote
That’s an important part of the process says key Ricans Australian development aid worker Robert Kane
We know this process isn’t gonna lead us to a project
It’s really just getting people to think about
The kinds of things the questions they should be asking when confronted with a new project all donors bringing a community
There’s not much export that comes out of view of us
so there’s no foreign income coming in which is difficult because
Often you need the materials or the money and I think you someone need to break the dependency cycle
Polynesia alofa founded the environmental protection
organization kiri can
Her goal is to support the people in kiri bus in their battle against climate change
In Carabas most of the time the priority need for our people is water and that’s why we got water into these communities
The water is the priority we brought water tanks to collect or to harvest the rain
Over the next few months every extended family will be supplied with their own water tank and solar panels to generate electricity
part of a program funded by international aid
People will be forced to live if we do not step in right now today to help them to adapt to stay
That’s what adaptation is all about for people to remain in their own homes in their own
continued with their life and their culture I
Wouldn’t imagine my people living to another country. That is not this
Because we have a very deep connection with our land but moving away to somewhere where you do not belong to you
You will always become a second class person in your heart. You know that you don’t belong there
We’re back on the main at all of Tarawa
The Marine training center is a window of opportunity to a better life for many young Kira bars
Up to 150 students trained here every year to become seafarers ship mechanics and cooks
The drill at the training center strict as is the morning roll call
96
1197 24 not talking during the breakfast mess up so attached so what now I eat
45 F 39 long thickeners, but now
the punishment here in the MTC desist scale
So if a train is found today fingernails long fingernails
Not wearing the younger chief told uniform I said for improper shame. That’s to be punished. The change has to be punished for now
The trainees have to rehearse a docking maneuver on the deck of a training ship today among them is 25 year old Tamara
And the wrist and stream right so less than two plus one
Seafarers from Puri Bass are in demand
particularly on German vessels
six shipping companies from Hamburg have offices on Tarawa supervised by Andrew Hines
N’ he holds the locals in high esteem and finds jobs for them on ships from all around the world
Firstly the people who grow up on these islands have a strong connection to water
They’ve been fishing and spending time on the water since childhood. They’re strong in my experience
It takes just one Kira bus to do a job that needs two Filipinos
These 15 months are a process. They have to be on time be clean and well-dressed because they’ll be confronted with a completely different world
The trainees have to work hard for their dream all week long the demands are great
Tamara only sees his wife and one-year-old daughter at the weekends
He currently shares a dorm room with 19 other sailors
Your this is my bed and that’s my mattress made of palm leaves I
Roll out the mattress every night. This is what it looks like. Yeah
This is how I sleep
Nagging them t0 I chose to train as a merchant marine because it gives me the chance to provide for my family
It’s my dream to continue my training after I finish this program
The training center has a good reputation on kiri bus, but even this modern complex faces increasing bouts of flooding
As you can see the entrance to the basin has become blocked by sonic rocky reefs and he’s
Built up here overnight because a small section of the seawall has broken
Option it the water was a bit higher than usual and lacking or insufficient maintenance cost it to break
That’s a good food. I see Varga Voronezh the current deposited the sand here one had to hear off guitar
People mess about with everything just like they do in Europe driving along this causeway
You can see that the water exchange is restricted to just a small aperture all the water from the lagoon has to squeeze through
Human interference with nature with disastrous consequences not least because it’s changed ocean currents
The causeway is a costly never-ending construction site
The primary school in bond Ricky every morning begins with a prayer more than 90% of kiri buses population is Christian
School is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14
Right now these are the three forces caused by global warming
So, what does the future hold for Curie buses children it’s a subject addressed in primary schools
We want to alert the children to what’s going on here and how they can deal with the problem
most of the children are scared of climate change
The children’s fears differ from those of their teacher but
They’re all very concrete
She’s scared of the future, too
We can emigrate to another country or confront the problem and live with it
I always tell my students that we have to find ways of preventing soil erosion
We have to build sea walls and plant mangroves we mustn’t cut down our trees anymore
The children have drawn pictures to illustrate what they think will happen as a result of global warming
Our beaches will be washed away. This boy says we’re using too much fuel
In this girl’s picture the land is submerged
Everyone she says is swimming in the water because the ocean is washed away the land if sea levels continue to rise
She says we’ll all die
These children are growing up with a palpable fear of the future
This girl tells us her home was flooded just last week
It happened while she was sleeping her mother woke her up and carried her out of the house
This girl says she’s very scared about climate change she believes many people are responsible for it
But as a child, there’s nothing she can do about it
The village of baan, Ricci has become increasingly susceptible to flooding after heavy rainfall often the high water lasts for days
Trainee Seafarer Tamara and his wife better our have bought a small house here
We’re going to live here in the future
I’m currently living with my wife and my daughter with my parents, but we’ll move in soon
Once I’ve completed my training at the Marine Center, and I’m earning money by working on a ship
I want to start raising my children here
I
Want to have a garden here, but I have to plow the soil first
I want to build a fence and plant sweet potatoes and tapioca
Maybe letters too
As a crew member on a large container ship tomorrow we’ll be able to earn up to 700 US dollars a month
That will place him in kiri boss’s middle class
I’m very excited to be moving here. I’m so proud of him when he gets a job and starts earning money
We’ll be able to build something and have a bigger family if he didn’t have a job
We’d have a lot of problems. We wouldn’t be able to lead this life. I’m very happy
When night falls on Tarawa the fishermen sometimes recall a centuries-old fishing method
Tear later and Matteo light a three-meter torch made of palm leaves on the beach at Tomiko
The warm light of the fire lures small tasty reef fish into the shallow water
It’s not like it used to be when there were fewer people here
Population growth has fueled an increase in fishing because of rising demand
Many fishermen now use neon lights to attract fish
It’s rare that I writer and LaToya catch any fish with their traditional fishing method these days
The one dog I’ve only caught her tomorrow
It’s hard to catch fish these days I feel the current has changed Tiger Antigone that in that day giving Mike
my butt itchy
The fishermen wonder whether climate change is to blame for that too
The fisheries ministry are Cuba’s
Marine biologist our ante Takeo has been investigating the health of the coral reefs around
Tarawa and the surrounding atolls for more than ten years
Using measuring tapes he and his team regularly monitor coral growth and health
What we’re seeing is the more popular corals now are the ones that are detecting and
more resilient to change
Into increasing temperature, they’re surviving more in the hot temperatures. They’re spreading over which is okay in a sense that the corals aren’t dying
They’re spreading there are lots of them
But it’s only it’s like survival of the fittest
The polyps that make up the stony corals are among the winners of climate change
They seem to be particularly happy in the waters around kiri bass
Because they’re so resilient all that change
That’s why they’re in really improving their Coral Cove is massive, even they could mean survivor
you know storms and stuff like that a
Hope for kiri bass but only healthy coral reefs can grow with the rising sea levels
Their natural breakwaters and provide important protection for the islands during major storm surges
Here in South that all wears in urban area there’s a lot of factors affecting coral reefs construction infrastructure
The main thing is it is rubbish since there’s a very high population here in South tunnel which causes rubbish
Yeah waste
done to the coral reefs that’s putting
heavy pressure on
As a result there are signs of degradation among weaker coral species in many reefs around Tarawa
The population is set to double on Tarawa over the next 20 years
climate coordinator Troy heating and the government of kiri bas face a huge challenge
Unless we find a solution now to address this problem, you know
If we were to top up the land here sand and you know kind of reclaim it, you know, that may be an option
The government is even considered moving its people onto artificial floating islands
futuristic visions and exorbitantly expensive designs by international architects
Requires a period of
Constant development and it’s very hard to do with the lack of resources that we have science tells us the other timeline
Something that we very hard to accept right now it may be that in just 50 years
Kiri Bass will no longer exist. It could be the first country to be wiped off the map by climate change
They’re still very small window of hope I guess. Yeah pride is is is something that will keep you going
Maybe the end not yet. 4k diversity is life. I
Still will be a curious
You

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