27 May 2013

Vanuatu chief says there's no room for climate refugees

7:44 pm on 27 May 2013

The former chairman of the Efate Council of Chiefs in Vanuatu, chief Kalkot Mormor, says there is no room on Efate to house climate change refugees.

Chief Mormor was reacting to a recent announcement by the prime minister, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, that Vanuatu should be a haven for environmental immigrants displaced by climate change.

But chief Mormor says Efate, which has already lost a lot of land to developers, has no space to house refugees, while he doesn't think the rest of Vanuatu should take them either.

He says there are also communities in Vanuatu, threatened by sea level rise, that need to be relocated first.

"I think Vanuatu will have to work with Vanuatu people first, like Tegua, and some other places in Vanuatu. Maybe if they need to move them [the ni-Vanuatu] to other islands or to relocate on their own island, if that is done first then maybe we think about other countries, but it is too early at this stage."