The tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati is among countries that are most vulnerable to the climate change. Sea level rise, coastal erosion, soil salinisation and extreme weather events already proving climate change scientists’ worst prediction that the country might disappear under the sea in decades.
The best example that the climate change is real is seen in Tebunginako village in Abaiang atoll. The village is called by the country’s government a “barometer for what Kiribati can expect in the future”. Since 1970s the villagers have seen the sea rise. Eventually the erosion was so great that the major part of the village had to be abandoned.
In South Tarawa, which is Kiribati official capital, some villages also slowly dissipating under the sea water. Among others, Tebikenikoora village suffers from flooding every high tide. Before the high tide events locals park their cars on a high areas of the village and stay in their homes. Trying to fight the fate, the country’s government started Kiribati Adaptation Program. In 2011 over 37000 mangroves were planted in North and South Tarawa as well as in other atolls of Kiribati.
Although there are still debates among the scientists about what exactly causes the sea level rise, Kiribati government is already has been looking for a place to relocate the entire nation if the country disappears under the sea. Kiribati purchashed land in Fiji for $8.77 million in May 2014 where its residents would be relocated in the event that sea-level rise drowns the Pacific island nation and displaces its population of just over 100,000 people.
Vlad Sokhin (Russia/Portugal) is a documentary photographer, videographer and multimedia producer.
He covers social, cultural, environmental, health and human rights issues around the world, including post-conflict and natural disaster zones. Vlad has worked on photo, video and radio projects, collaborating with various international media and with the United Nations and international NGOs. Vlad’s work has been exhibited and published internationally, including at Visa Pour L’Image and Head On photo festivals and in the International Herald Tribune, BBC World Service, the Guardian, National Geographic Traveler, GEO, ABC, NPR, The Atlantic, Stern, Le Monde, Paris Match, Esquire, Das Magazin, WIRE Amnesty International, Sydney Morning Herald, Marie Claire, The Global Mail, Russian Reporter and others.
Vlad has produced short multimedia films as well as fundraising and campaign videos for UNICEF, UNAIDS, UN Women, OHCHR, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Amnesty International and ChildFund.
Vlad has lived and worked in Russia, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Mozambique and Australia and he currently works between Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He is fluent in English, Russian and Portuguese and also speaks Spanish and Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea). He is currently learning French and Arabic.