The End of Kiribati

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kiribati: Message Center for Kiribati RPCVs: The End of Kiribati

By Ericjt ( - on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 8:06 pm: Edit Post

Kam Na Mauri,

Since sea levels are rising, and assuming there are no miracle engineering solutions, what is being done for the evacuation of the country? Should we try to help? Despite what the coal industry claims, it looks like they have about a decade (,20867,20634466-30417,00.html ).


By Kevin Lee Croft ( - on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 2:46 pm: Edit Post

In November of 1988 there was no doubt in the collective awareness of the I-Kiribati that the water level was rising. My host family took me to a number of places on Abaiang where coconut trees were falling into the surf because their root systems had been completely undermined by tidal inundation. I have photographs of this.

The I-Kiribati will eventually have to evacuated. Australia is the most likely place for them to go. If you want to help, brush up on your I-Kiribati and meet me in Australia.

Kevin Lee Croft

By Ben Pagano ( - on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 6:21 pm: Edit Post

Hi, Ben Pagano of PCK-28. Two huge issues for PCK to face immediately.
1. The planned termination of Peace Corps in Kiribati.
2. The effects of global Climate change on Kiribati.

First. I feel strongly that without Peace Corps in Kiribati, the United States looses its most direct form of aid in the country. Long time host country national and PC Medical Assisistant wrote the following email on 3/20
Kelly Hi!
Yes, I emailed you yesterday to share news from this end. PCK is now
moving slowly towads closing down, with main reason being that Air
Kiribati services has been most unreliable for good length of time and
the situation is not getting better but worse.So what's being done now
isbringing back to Tarawa vol. from the six futherst south ilands which
are the most difficult to reach. Then the K32 (from the consolidated
group)can choose an early COS option or their normal COS date in May
The K-33, 34, and 35 (from the consolidated group) can have interrupted
service option or they can transfer to islands north of Tarawa and
central islands. They are also offered a country transfer if available
for their skills. The K-36 which has just been in Kiribati for 3 weeks
returned from training site yesterday, are doing what they need to do
before returning to US this week and next week, fly to their home of
record. The K-37 that supposed to come in August has been cancelled.
October 1st is the deciding point. If between now and 1st Oct., Air
Kiribati is able to resume normal reliable schedule with two planes,
then PCK will continue, but if Kiribati cannot improve the transport
situation, then PC will say bye bye to Kiribati on the 1st Oct., 07.
Anyway, Air Kiribati has 6months to try to improve it's services, and I
think, something positive will come before 1st Oct., 07.
As of 2003 there were no longer VSO serving on outer islands. If PC also evacuates it would leave Mormon missionaries as the remaining outer island NGO. Ridiculous isn't it? Peace Corps must stay. Only through staying can Peace Corps continue to make substantive change. And through staying can volunteers/the United States Government offer any type of assistance to those people most directly in the path of uncontrollable change. According to Rotia, a stupid plane will force the termination of Volunteer services to like 10 of the outer islands. Its a disproportionate reaction. If peace corps requires reliable emergency transportation - then Peace Corps should FIND reliable emergency transportation.

Secondly - Global Warming/Global Climate change. I think we all shared the same wonder flying into Kiribati that first time. Such a tiny delicate slice of green and white in the most vast expanse of perfect blue. And every flight from Mwakin to Tarawa only reinforced the thought of how delicately the islands support human life.
We know that each island averages six feet above sea level. We know the water lens on most islands is only a mater of a couple feet thick. The impact of Ocean levels rising would cause massive erosion and spoiling of fresh water supplies.
To think about the likely evacuation of Kiribati -Has the population of an entire country ever had to leave? I think about the extreme cost and hardship of resettling survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Or resettling refugees from civil war. The economic impacts of moving 80,000 low income people to a new country must be staggering. The cultural cost of losing a country is remarkable.

In other words. I believe its a serious issue that i don't have answers for. I like the thought of brushing up on I-Kiribati. But what else? What are other means of action to prepare for the inevitable? Now is the time for good ideas.

Ben Pagano

By Anonymous ( - on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 10:11 pm: Edit Post

Welcome Laura to Tarawa. Best of Luck!!


By Anonymous ( - on Monday, May 28, 2007 - 7:16 am: Edit Post

Ben's right on about the plane situation. Air Kiribati has been really lacking. Right now the plane is down waiting for new parts because they weren't ordered ahead of time and the current parts are past their fly time limit. This week a plane was chartered from Air Marshall to make a run to pick up MP's for the parliment meeting. They just announced that the CASA (the second plane which has been in Aus. for over a year) will not be back before the end of this year. That means the chances of having 2 functional planes by Oct. 1st are slim to none. However, there is some talk of loans, or Taiwan financing the purchase of two brand new aircraft.
While things aren't looking too good right now there is an election scheduled for July and a new government might be the change that we need to keep PC around.
As to rising sea levels... Luckily rain tanks are pretty easy to come by. In my village on Maiana we can't drink the water from any of the wells cause it's too salty. There's major problems with erosion of roads (on Tarawa and outer islands) because high tides are coming further and further inland. While people here are aware of the problem there really isn't much they can do besides move babwai pits further inland and try not to think about how they're going to have to leave sooner than later.

By kevin lee croft ( - on Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 9:17 pm: Edit Post

Is anyone in the Gilbertese government presently making plans for the future? If there is going to be an exodus, I hope they are already making preparations.

If it becomes possible to obtain large amounts of fresh water from means such as catchment, distilation, or desalination, might it be possible for the I-Kiribati to remain in the Gilbert Islands and send some of their population to destinations nearby such as the Phoenix Islands?

Is it a sure bet that all coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean will be inundated completely? If so, then finding new solutions for the fresh water shortage is nothing more than a stop gap measure.

Kevin Lee Croft

By Anonymous ( on Saturday, September 15, 2007 - 10:01 am: Edit Post

I have lived in Kiribati for many years and there is no sign of rising sea levels on Tarawa. Only the normal shifting of sand due to changing currents: sand moves from one place and accumlates in another.This cycle takes years to complete and making judgments on observations of coast line movements taking place over one or two years is flawed. The U.S. tide gauge readings on Betio do not indicate any rise in sea levels.

By Beth McGee-Russell ( - on Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 7:30 am: Edit Post

I'm an author and am setting part of my book in South Tarawa. So, do any of you live in a relatively small village in South Tarawa? And if you do, please tell me about your daily life, and the people in it?

Little details are nice. Mosquitoe nets, but are they the little nasty black ones, that can get through any netting? Anyone have air-conditioning? What do they do to afford it?

Thank you!

By Louise Zoufaly ( - on Saturday, February 09, 2008 - 1:42 pm: Edit Post

Heard about PCV leaving Kiribati back here in the states when it was happening. I had early, early medsep. Looking for two of many friends I made there -- Jaime Bach and Maureen Kuiper. Any help anyone?!

Thanks ever so much!

By Kevin lee Croft (kevin_croft) ( on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 3:22 pm: Edit Post

Has anyone been out to Abaiang, lately? I would like to hear from the Kintaa family if they are still there.

Kam Raba

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