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Advertisement "We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it," Tong said. For them, moving won't be a matter of choice. It's basically going to be a matter of survival.
Advertisement Tong said some villages have already moved and there have been increasing instances of sea water contaminating the island's underground fresh water, which remains vital for trees and crops.
He said changing rainfall, tidal and storm patterns pose as least as much threat as ocean levels, which so far have risen only slightly.
Some scientists have estimated the current level of sea rise in the Pacific at about 2 millimeters 0. Many scientists expect that rate to accelerate due to climate change.
Fiji, home to aboutpeople, is about 1, miles south of Kiribati. But just what people there think about potentially providing a home for thousands of their neighbors remains unclear.
Tong said he's awaiting full parliamentary approval for the land purchase, which he expects in April, before discussing the plan formally with Fijian officials.
Sharon Smith-Johnsa spokeswoman for the Fijian government, said several agencies are studying Kiribati's plans and the government will release a formal statement next week. Most Read.