Climate Action

Climate change is a fight for survival, says Fiji’s Prime Minister

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has said the latest cyclone to rip through the country is due to climate change, and they are getting worse.

  • 03 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has said the latest cyclone to rip through the country is due to climate change, and they are getting worse.

Cyclone Josie, which hit the Pacific island nation this week, has already killed four people and caused severe flooding.

“We are now at an almost constant level of threat from these extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and more severe because of climate change”, said Mr Bainimarama in response.

“This is fight for our very survival”, he added.

Fiji has suffered a number of intense cyclones in recent years; in 2016, Cyclone Winston, a category five storm, killed 44 people and caused $1.4 billion in damages.

The Prime Minister also drew attention to recent World Bank analysis which found that by 2050 extreme weather could cause losses equivalent to 6.5 percent of Fiji’s GDP.

The same report shows that 32,000 people could be pushed into hardship each year because of the impacts from climate change, and that 9.3 billion Fijian dollars ($4.5 billion) will be needed to help protect the country.

“As we clean up in the affected areas after Tropical Cyclone Josie, I urge every Fijian to join the struggle to build a more climate-resilient Fiji”, he added.

Fiji has held the presidency of the UN’s climate change talks, called COP23, since 2017, and the Prime Minister has played a lead role in highlighting the plight Pacific islands face due to climate change. His work in this area led Climate Action to nominate him as a ‘climate champion’ over the past year.

 

Photo Credit: COP23