From: ABC News
Published June 5, 2008 08:59 AM

Endangered Pacific islet facing mass relocation

World Environment Day is an opportunity for a diverse spread of countries, companies and communities to look at their environmental problems and try to find some solutions.

But for the tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati, the environmental outlook is so grim the President, Anote Tong, has issued an appeal for Australia and other countries for help.

He desperately needs assistance to provide a home for his people, amid predictions that global warming will render the low-lying islands uninhabitable in 50 years.

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Kiribati is made up of three groups of coral atolls. The population stands at 90,000 on land which is barely two metres above sea level.

On a map it may look small, but Kiribati has some big problems. With rising sea levels and erosion, many communities have already relocated.

President Tong is watching on with sadness.

"Every second week when we get the high tides, there's always reports of erosion," he said.

"To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that."

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