Studies indicate that the Kuyawa and Munuwata Islands of Milne Bay are on the verge of being stripped of their food and water resources at the mercy of climate change.
The SPC or the South Pacific Community and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) found that their problem stems from the increase in population over recent years and the eroding shorelines that have limited land area over time.
Climate Change advocate Latin N’Drihin has been working closely with the SPC/GIZ to conduct these studies and awareness programs.
One only has to walk along the shorelines of Kuyawa Island and Munuwata Island to see the effects of climate change.
Although islanders have taken it upon themselves to protect their shorelines by building stonewalls barricaded only by fishing nets, N’Drihin said they are unaware that deep rooted customs like the infamous yam planting season are a culprit.
During this season there is a mass harvest of mangrove trees; their branches apparently are the most resilient to weathering on the island, so they are used to support the crawling yam plant.
Mangroves are natural a barrier against the tides.
As a result, the population on the island itself is fast becoming a problem with the receding shorelines.
Islanders have identified poor academic performance of children on the island as a driving factor.
They believe that if their children had access to better education facilities the chances of them passing out into tertiary institutions will reduce the number of people left to depend on the island.
Survival itself is a daily struggle for the islanders whose only source of water is shallow wells; the largest catchments being water tanks only provided in places like schools.
The SPC/GIZ technical working group is looking help salvage what’s left of their islands food and water security, by first introducing additional crops so they don’t completely destroy their mangrove population.