Kiribati pueda que haya alcanzado un punto de no retorno. Planear para el día en que ya no se tenga un país es sin duda doloroso, pero es algo que sus habitantes tienen que pensar.
Fotos recopiladas por Ciril Jazbec
An aerial view of the South Tarawa atoll that separates the lagoon from the Pacific Ocean. Maximum elevation of the atoll is a mere 3 meters above sea level, and there are places where the island is held together only by a narrow local road banked by stone walls that prevent its erosion.
The sea surrounding South Tarawa is highly polluted due to unregulated dumping of waste, and there are numerous dump areas on the very crowded island. Locals aren’t worried about this. Infections are frequent, however, and visitors are strongly advised not to swim in the water.
A sea wall around Maneaba. Walls are built to protect buildings from floods and erosion caused by rising sea levels. The walls are expensive and many cannot afford them, remaining at the mercy of high tides. They are made by filling sacks with concrete.
A young boy outside of his home.
A man trying to catch his precious pig along a flooded path. The people of Kiribati consider pigs to be a symbol of wealth and prosperity. They are harvested for festivals and special occasions. Many families find it too expensive to buy chickens from the shops. “A single pig can feed many people for days,” explains a local man.
Dead coconut palms flooded by seawater, a common sight in Tebunginako, Abaiang.
Teenagers celebrating Youth Day next to the Kiribati Protestant Church.
Nuea Ataata, 14, went to school in Fiji and Australia and wants to be a scientist so she can help save Kiribati. Her mother is a doctor in a hospital on South Tarawa, after working abroad and completing her Ph.D. on climate change in Australia. Nuea is glad to be back among friends in her home village, where she feels she belongs. She wears tibutas, a piece of clothing made by Kiribati women since the early European settlement.
At a festive ceremony of the Tuvalu community. Kiribati maintains very close relations with their Pacific neighbors.
Late evening service at the Kiribati Protestant Church.
Climate change activist Claire Anterea leads a workshop for the locals, trying to raise awareness about climate change and its impact. Not everyone is aware of the problems and these workshops better prepare them for the coming changes. Since they can’t afford a projector, they use Claire’s laptop to view a presentation. Claire is helped by a group of Catholic youth.
Temaiku, South Tarawa is one of the most endangered villages. The house was lifted and placed on stilts to prevent flooding. The house is a kiakia – a small traditional building – that’s easily deconstructed if it needs to be moved. Due to overcrowding in South Tarawa, some houses are built in unusual locations. This house was built next to a trash dump.
Waste management, one of the main sources of water pollution, is one of the biggest concerns in Kiribati.
A flooded road in Tebikenikoora, also known as Golden Beach, on South Tarawa.
Children playing during the high tide, which has flooded the road. Children use the high tides to play and swim. Are they the last Kiribati generation to have a true childhood? Will they be forced to leave their homeland?
Grocery shopping at the local store in Bikenebeu village, South Tarawa. The proprietor put up the Merry Christmas sign the year prior, hoping to increase his sales, then left it there. In the background is the only ambulance van on the island until recently. When they needed another one, they took the first one’s siren and put it in the second one, leaving the first one with only the emergency lights
St. Joseph College boarding school in Tabwiroa, Abaiang Island. College kids watch an Indian romantic movie after a school dance in a Maneaba, a typical wooden building where people socialize. The building was constructed in a traditional manner using coconut and pandanus materials.
The way home is flooded, and water rises further when it rains. Severe weather with strong rains, winds, and showers can have more damaging effects on the islands.
In the evening, this family sits down in their house. They don’t own a TV, so they pass their time by talking and playing cards. In the foreground is a block (or “rish cake”) of tobacco.
Para mas información visitá https://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/photo-essays/kiribati-gone#photo=19