Water keeps crawling in

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Sea level rise taking its on coconut palm trees at Vuravura village in Marau, east Guadalcanal
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BY JARED KOLI

THE continuous rise in sea level has taken its toll nearly wiping off coconut palms off an inundated an outstretched land at a seaside village in Marau on the eastern tip of Guadalcanal’s coastline.

Island Sun during a visit to Vuravura village in Marau early this month, heard from villagers and witnessed the staggering changes on their shoreline, blaming sea level rise as a result of climate change as the number one factor.

An elder spoken to, Ansetho Kale said in the 1990s, the beach stretches more than 50 meters to the sea creating a typical playground where children can play football or soccer during low tides.

Mr Kale said, now salt water keeps crawling in, eroding the shoreline with coconut palms and other close-by fruit trees on the verge of being washed away.

Kale said the impact of these changes is taking its toll on the coastline on a scale never seen before.

Staple foods like the giant swamp taro (known as kakake) which are grown several meters off shoreline are dying, due to salinity of the swamp resulted from salt water intrusion.

The land and the sea are turning against the people they are supposed to serve and are destroying their livelihood.

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“We are on the losing end,” says Kale.

Vonu village, another nearby village was shallowed by the rising sea and as a result, most villagers have fled and rebuild their homes more than 200 meters further inland.

“During the 1980s up to the 1990s dwelling homes were about 20 meters from the beach. Today water has covered where homes used to be, with coconut and other fruit trees washed away by the eroding waves. Only a few palms remain standing in salt water, but their growth is deteriorating,” a villager said.

In response to this pressure and in an effort to manage the nearby vulnerable mangrove ecosystems, a Vuravura villager, Mr Derrick Nado has shown an adaptation approach by building stone walls and replanting mangroves, building his home and business at his raised platform.

Mangrove ecosystems are threatened by climate change, and Mr Nado has shown the light to other villagers to be help preserve and restore the mangrove ecosystems for a good cause.

Nado was not available for comments at the time as he travelled to the Central Islands province during a visit by this paper.

Island Sun understands that the government has been working with a number of Non-governmental Organisation and multilateral partners, some of which include UNDP, SPREP and GEF to build resilience to the impacts of climate change in the country.

During the recent Climate Change conference in Bonn, Germany on November, Solomon Islands is seeking more global cooperation to ensure accelerate more action is done on the climate change front.

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