Wednesday 18 March 2015

Climate change- related tragedy in Tuvalu ignored by world media

Tuvalu, more than perhaps any other Pacific nation is threatened by climate change and by sea level rise.

Much of the atoll was under water in the recent cyclone and now half the population is displaced and has lost its crops and is threatened by disease, and yet there has been little media coverage.

This can be seen by a simple Google search
Here at last, though,  is an item from Radio New Zealand. Listen to the audio below.

Water supplies reach needy Tuvalu atoll
A Red Cross official in Tuvalu says they have got drinking water to Nui island but more will be needed soon in the wake of damage caused by Cyclone Pam.

Flooding in Tuvalu after Cyclone Pam.
A storm surge associated with Cyclone Pam inundated low-lying Tuvalu last week

18 March, 2015

Nui was the worst hit of Tuvalu's islands with waves washing over it from both the ocean side and the lagoon side.

The IFRC's Olioliga Iosua says the flood waters were more than a metre high and have polluted the island's water sources.

She says Nui's population of more than 500 is being accommodated in church buildings, community halls or schools, while jerry cans of drinking water have been shipped in from Funafuti.

"But the projection is they will only last for two weeks, so we are planning to have other runs of water to the island until the tanks have been cleaned up and filled with water."

There were a few earlier reports from Radio New Zealand and this one from Fijian broadcasting

One Tuvalu island evacuated after flooding from Pam

18 March, 2015

The entire population on one of Tuvalu’s islands has been evacuated due to flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

More than 400 people from the island Nanumaga have been moved as well as another 85 families from Nukulaelae.

Tuvalu’s Disaster Coordinator says a rapid assessment team is still making its way to the remaining outer islands but they have begun distributing aid to those affected.

Suneo Silu says their priority island is Nui where water supplies were contaminated after the island was covered by a large swell.

The worst island – that’s Nui and then coming down to Vaitupu and Nukufetau. All islands were flooded. The three northern islands were badly affected by flooding and the central island as well.”

Health officials in Tuvalu are expecting an outbreak of disease on the islands.

Mr Silu says Nui is a priority because remnants of graves have been washed up as the graveyard was flooded and septic tanks are also damaged.

So we need to deliver water as soon as possible. We are mindful that there will be an outbreak soon – some sanitary disaster. So the health team were there to advise the people to use boiled water. Not to use the contaminated water,” said Suneo Silu.

This is the one video that I could find on Tuvalu and recent events

And here is a video made by the Pacific community on Tuvalu's  adaptation to climate change. Up until this cyclone, the main problems were drought and lack of fresh water.

Adapting to Climate Change in Tuvalu. The Fresh Water Dimension

See alsoTuvalu: Flooding, Global Warming, and Media Coverage

And finally, reports from Vanuatu
Report from Vanuatu

The first images emerge of destruction in Tanna, Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam.
The first images emerge of destruction in Tanna, Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam.

Vanuatu begins to realise full extent of damage from Cyclone Pam

1 comment:

  1. When this happened to New Orleans the worlds media was focused on it. Our pacific island neighbours will be ignored and more or less abandoned. We watched the people of Christchurch be treated miserably and the corporations moved in and exploited the disaster. I worked in Mozambique on a $110 million rehabilitation of the port in Beira,I suspect not a million was spent in the local economy. The common denominator of the indifference? The capitalist system sees these disasters as an opportunity. The suffering of the people, peripheral. Good learning experiences for us all for the imminent day when collapse arrives and no one turns up to help, ever.


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