Evidence once again is there that there are problems for villagers who live close to the water's edge with the sea swells changing the shoreline. Climate change it seems, or just nature's way? This island was once a significant chiefly island offshore from Naduri but these days only a handful of people live there.
from Fiji Sun
Erosion haunts families
writer : CAROLINE RATUCADRA
Two families who remain living on Macuata-i-Wai Island in the Northern Coast of Vanua Levu fear that one day they may lose their village completely.
The island is under threat as evidence has shown coastal erosion taking place, claiming the beach forefront.
Island chief, Ratu Jone Matanababa said the island belongs to the Yavusa Caumatalevu with links to the paramount chief of Macuata.
Ratu Jone said only two families remain on the island as majority now live on the mainland at Naduri village, home to Tui Macuata, Ratu Aisea Katonivere.
The others have moved to other parts of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu for educational and work purposes.
“There are only nine people living here permanently and we will continue to do so to protect our land. But with the rising sea level in the recent past, we fear that it will one day consume our village,” Ratu Jone said.
The villagers have reported that sea swells have claimed coconut trees that were planted along the shoreline with the beach front moving 50 metres inland.
If not addressed, Ratu Jone said homes along the shoreline would suffer the same fate.
Left behind on the beach where the coastal erosion has taken place are visible foundations of tree trunks.
“We have seen the effects of climate change and we are working with our young people and children in saving our island.”
“This island should be saved because of its historical significance and ties with the province of Macuata,” Ratu Jone said.
According to Fiji’s history, Macuata-i-Wai was home to former Tui Macuata, Ratu Ritova who was killed because he refused to sign the Deed of Cession to hand Fiji to Great Britain.
“We still have the foundation on Ratu Ritova’s home in the centre of the village and where he was tied up days before his death. History states that he was transported to Levuka where he was killed.”
Despite the challenges the islanders are faced with daily, they are hope authorities will look into their plight.
On Saturday, youths and children of Naduri village converged on the island to plant resilient plant species along the island’s foreshore.
“Climate change threatens our futire like nothing else and unless considerable action is taken now, we risk losing our homes, villages and our way of life,” Naduri Youth Club president, Salome Turukawa said.