Pacific peoples seek right to survival in Commonwealth meet

Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga called for justice and the right of Pacific people to survival in the face of the devastation caused by climate change at the Commonwealth People’s Forum in London, United Kingdom.

Duituturaga told the 100-strong crowd that attended the Climate Damages Tax Campaign side event that as a Pacific Islander she was duty-bound to ask for justice particularly as a representative of a region that was the least responsible but bore the greatest brunt of climate change.

“We Pacific peoples are at the frontline of devastation from climate change calls for justice and the right to survival. I come here today to ask – Where? Where is the justice that those of us who are least responsible, bear the greatest brunt of this human induced catastrophe?” she said.

“I have just arrived from my home country of Fiji, where we are still reeling from the devastating and damaging floods caused by two cyclones – Cyclone Josie and Cyclone Keni within a two-week period.”

During Easter weekend on 31 March,  Josie hit killing four people and caused major flooding submerged a whole town. While Cyclone Josie, was relatively weak category one, it brought heavy flooding to Viti Levu, one of the two main islands in Fiji.

“Four killed from being washed away as river banks burst and bridges submerged. This has become our new norm – extensive, devastating, catastrophic loss and damage at astronomical proportions never before felt or imagined,” Duituturaga said.

Duituturaga who is attending the forum with PIANGO’s Deputy Executive Director, Siale Ilolahia said since 1950, natural disasters in the Pacific have killed more than 10,000 people and affected 9.2 million people of the Pacific’s 10 million population, referring to a World Bank report finding.

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