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Kiribati President warns on climate change in documentary

Kiribati President Anote Tong has appeared in a new documentary on climate change in Kiribati, saying the threat to his island nation is getting worse, reports Pacific Media Centre.

The Hungry Tide was screened on Māori Television last night in the first free-to-air broadcast in New Zealand.

In the SBS documentary, Australian filmmaker Tom Zubrycki captures scenes from the low-lying country in the Pacific and tracks the story of Maria Tiimon, a Kiribati climate change activist living in Sydney.

President Tong said: “You’ve just got to feel for these people” and “As the sea level will rise, the problem will only get worse”.

He went on to say that his country lacked the resources to deal with the problem and that the people would inevitably have to move.

In March, the Kiribati Parliament approved the purchase of a 2200-hectare estate on Fiji’s Vanua Levu island.

At the time, President Tong said there were no plans to start moving people to that location but that the fertile land would most likely be used for food security and that climate change concerns had prompted the government to purchase the land.

The Hungry Tide was first screened in New Zealand by Oxfam during the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland last year.  The documentary is one of a growing number of works that focus on the issue of rising sea levels in the Pacific.