Relocation underway for Manus islanders due to climate change

The people of Mbuke and Whal Island of Mbuke Group of Islands in Manus Province have started to relocate to higher ground due to sea level rise.

Sea level rise is an effect of climate change which is causing coastal impact on the islands.

Mbuke Group of Islands is located in Ward One of Pobuma Local Level Government.

Head of the local NGO Marine Environment Awareness and Response Team, former WWF Marine Officer Selarn Kaluwin, said they’ve started to relocate due to sea level rise and population growth.

Kaluwin said, “Our community people and leaders have agreed and selected Pokali Island for resettlement development due to land shortages and climate changes impact.”

Kaluwin confirmed that eight houses have been relocated so far with more expected in months and years to come.

Those still on Mbuke and Whal islands have come up with adaptation measures while waiting to be relocated.

The communities have done coastal protection unit by using temporarily seawall and other options, like the use of stones, gabion basket and coastal trees replanting.

They have also resorted to drought resilience crops, marine conservation area and terrestrial wildlife management to address food security.

The people are now using solar water desalination plant, funded by National Planning and Monitoring Project and Pacific Islands Development Secretariat to address water security.

Mbuke has three solar-powered plants producing 120L of fresh drinking water per hour. Altogether, they produce 2160L of fresh drinking water per day.

All three plans were completed and accepted by the National Project Manager on Nov 17, 2016.

On Whal Island, the solar desalination plant was completed on Nov 24, 2016.

Whal has only one desalination plant which produces 120L per hour and 720L of fresh drinking water per day.

(Picture by Selarn Kaluwin)

Quintina Naime