WILD EXTREMES DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Fiji is already feeling the impact of climate change resulting in wild extremes in our weather, says the Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this included an increase in the number of hurricanes and strength of cyclones affecting the region.

He said an average of four such events each are being seen annually and wave heights of recent cyclones have exceeded even the projections of climate change models.

Citing natural disasters that affected the Fiji group recently, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said while scientifically it cannot be proven that the stronger impact was directly due to climate change,  there is evidence to suggest that disasters in Fiji and the rest of the region are becoming more intense and frequent

“Last year, Fiji declared a state of disaster over flooding and landslides that killed at least six people and displaced thousands more,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Over 8,000 people sought refuge in evacuation centres organised by Government through the National Disaster Management Office. We had a repeat event with Hurricane Evan earlier this year, though mercifully without loss of life.

“The impact of flooding was especially felt in Nadi and nearby areas in Western Fiji. Roads were inundated, the water supply was severed, communications and power were disrupted, farms and the food supply were damaged, shops and schools were closed, every aspect of life was affected,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added.

“A similar event occurred in 2009. While we cannot scientifically prove.”

The acting Prime Minister, highlighting the availability of limited resources, added that there is a need for a holistic approach to problem solving that is practical, affordable and involves a close partnership between Government, the business community and civil society groups.

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