24 Nov 2005

Relocation under way in PNG of Cateret people as islands vanish

4:33 pm on 24 November 2005

The 1,300 residents of the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea are to be re-located because their land is being washed into the sea.

Over the years the islanders have been moving further inland as more of their coastline has disappeared in what they describe as rising sea levels.

The first 10 to 16 families will be relocated to the neighbouring island of Bougainville over the next 14 months, with the rest of the population joining them by 2012.

The programme will cost about 300,000 US dollars.

A district manager for the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Paul Tobosi, says it's been a difficult decision for the islanders.

"Some are reluctant but because of the situation they don't have much choice. Every day there's food problems, they struggle almost every day to try and find food for the family, so I think, they think it's best to come out here."

Paul Tobosi.