Pacific Island Nation Considers Packing Up and Moving

Under threat from climate change, Kiribati officials are mulling a plan to ship everyone to Fiji.

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Richard Vogel / AP

Tarawa atoll, Kiribati, is seen in an aerial view. Fearing that climate change could wipe out their entire Pacific archipelago, the leaders of Kiribati are considering an unusual backup plan: moving the populace to Fiji.

The government of Kiribati has no shortage of ambitious ideas to combat the threat of rising tides that could sink the country. Including packing up and moving somewhere else.

According to the Associated Press, the nation’s cabinet is reviewing options to migrate citizens to a Fijian island, located more than 1,000 miles away.

The Kiribati cabinet is looking into buying 6,000 acres on Fiji’s Viti Levu island for $9.6 million, the AP reported. The plan reportedly still needs to be approved by the country’s parliament before it moves forward. “We’re trying to secure the future of our people,” said President Anote Tong to the news outlet. “The international community needs to be addressing this problem more.”

(MORE: Why Nature as We Know It Is Over)

Kiribati’s leaders had also considered building a man-made island with a $2 billion estimated price tag or outfitting their island with sea walls, according to the U.K.’s The Independent. Migrating to the Fijian island was said to be a “last resort” move by President Tong.

“This is the last resort, there’s no way out of this one,” Tong said, according to The Telegraph. “Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages.”