2 Apr 2008

PNG's almost 3000 Carteret Islanders could be world's first climate refugees

8:46 am on 2 April 2008

Papua New Guinea's almost 3000 Carteret Islanders in Bougainville are reportedly already preparing to be among the world's first "climate refugees''.

The United Nations rights body, the Human Rights Council, which has been instituted to study climate change in affected countries in the world, says sea expansion is eating away at places including Carterets.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that the Council commissioned a study into the impact in the Maldives and the atolls of Carterets islands.

The local people are reportedly getting ready to abandon the islands over the next several years, resettling on designated land on nearby Bougainville island.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government says it's working on a plan to start the operations for saving the islanders.

A petition was presented to the ABG president Joseph Kabui outlining the problems facing the islanders.

The Post Courier has quoted acting Bougainville administrator, Raymond Masono, as saying the 750 thousand US dollars allocated by PNG for the operation to save the islanders was not enough.