Waiting for the tide to turn: Kiribati’s fight for survival
The 33 islands of Kiribati, a remote and shallow nation in the Pacific Ocean, are under threat from climate change. But the islanders have not given up hope
Kiribati is one of the most isolated countries in the world. As you fly in to the main island of South Tarawa, located less than 100 kms from the equator, a precariously thin strip of sand and green materialises out of the ocean.
On one side, a narrow reef offers some protection to the inhabitants and their land – at low tide, at least. On the other side, a shallow lagoon reaches kilometres out to sea. The 33 islands of Kiribati – pronounced “Kiribass” – are extremely shallow; the highest point is just two metres above sea level. Looking out of the aeroplane window, there is no depth to the scene – sea dissolves seamlessly into sky, a paint palette of every blue