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Anglican Church leaders take action as Pacific islands are lost to climate change

Wed 11 May 2016
By Aaron James

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has agreed to implement a "clear resilience strategy" as it loses islands to rising sea levels.

It agreed the measures at the Province's General Synod on the back of scientific research which has found five islands and two villages have been lost to climate change in the South Pacific since 1935.

In addition to this another six islands are experiencing "severe shoreline recession" due to rising sea levels caused by global warming.

The region also suffers disproportionately from cyclones with speeds of hundreds of miles per hour (Cyclone Pam, below).

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The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia agreed to:

Establish a "clear resilience strategy"; 

Strengthen links with disaster relief agencies in order to create Church Community Trainers who then train young people disaster preparedness;

Develop a Diocesan Rapid Response Plan for when a disaster strikes, and;

Strengthen links with Disaster Risk Reduction organisations.

Fe'iloakitau Kaho Tevi (main picture above) told the Province's General Synod: "I want to tell you about Cyclones Winston and Pam, that members of this synod lived through, that my family and I lived through.

"Imagine you are in a train station on the platform, a little way back from the edge of the platform. And a train goes through the station at 250km per hour.

"Imagine the force of that wind, the power of it passing by. The sound of that train to you is what Cyclones PAM sounded like. Except its winds reached 341km per hour.

"Thank God it was only six minutes of wind, if it had been ten, a lot more lives would have been lost."


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