Villagers of Malaita Province, Solomon Islands, fear that their homes will vanish soon as king tides cause flooding that they have never experienced before

Villagers in the Eastern region of Malaita Province, Solomon Islands are panicking as king tides cause flooding of their homes never experienced before.

Known as two sister islands, Kwai and Ngongosila recently experienced the “worst and scariest” when king tides ravaged their homes.

“This is the worst to have happened in over the last 15 years,” said Mr Victor Suraniu Mafane, Community Leader of Kwai Island.

“People are panicking.

“Some women cried when the king tides washed through the islands.

“They feared that their homes and everything they owned on the island would vanish soon.”

Mr Mafane said climate change is affecting the daily lives of more than a thousand people on these Islands as king tides reach heights never seen before.

“Most of the houses near the coastlines were affected, as destructive waves washed through the islands.

“The primary and secondary school classrooms on Kwai were affected.

“The Assemblies of God (AOG) Church on Kwai was completely destroyed by king tides some 15 years ago.

“Another Church that also felt the impacts of climate change is the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC) buildings on Kwai and Ngongosila.

“Our mini-food gardens were affected during high tides, especially Taro and other vegetables.

“The groundwater pits where we normally use for bathing have now turned into salt water.

“The graveyards on both islands were also covered with salt water.”

He said they started seeing the abnormal rising seas after church on Sunday which continued this week.

“We will wait to see what will happen, whether it will continue now and over the days ahead.”

However, since the communities experienced the changes, they’ve held meetings to discuss “what is needed to be done at this stage.”

After the meetings, community leaders will then get organised and seek assistance from the provincial and national government.

“It is highly likely that they will push for the government to consider their plans to relocate to the mainland.”

“Relocation is the big word now,” said Mr Mafane.

“People will have to leave because this experience is new for many, and no one will want to live on the island now.

“However, it also depends on who is ready to leave and who is not.”

He said years back, a relocation plan was discussed but they have not heard anything yet.

“We have not received support yet from the government, but we were assured by our Provincial Government Ward member, Honourable Preston Billy of some assistance from the Malaita Provincial Government.

“He said help is coming and the provincial government is working on getting some assistance from the provincial government.

“There was nothing coming from the national government, but I hope that they have seen and heard what has happened and help will soon come.

“These people are panicking, and they are looking forward to packing up and relocating.”

The affected population on Kwai Island is 768 and more than 300 people on Ngongosila Island.

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