The National, Friday, 27th May 2011
WHAL Islanders want the government to help them fight the effects of rising sea levels as the fresh water wells dry up.
World Wide Fund for Nature marine officer in Manus, Selarn Kaluwin, said their greatest worry was water security for Whal Island, in the Mbuke group of islands southwest of mainland Manus.
He appealed to the government and responsible agencies to now to save the livelihood of the islanders.
“We seriously need government assistance because we are sinking and we have used traditional knowledge to have come this far,” he said.
“With the help of NGOs, we have addressed climate change, adaptation, and food security but water security is our biggest problem on the islands.
“Can the government help?
“We have wells but they are dry at times, we need tanks and the expertise in changing sea water into fresh purified water,” Kaluwin said.
He said the local people needed government as partner to help them fight issues affecting their livelihood.
He said part of the problem was that islanders had been cutting down mangroves since the 1980s, adding that Whal Island was one of the worst hit due to this.
“Cutting of mangroves was to clear the area so they could build their village.
“There has been a major removal of the sand base since then and the factors involved contributed to a rise in the sea level, king tides and a strong current.
“There are certain initiatives we want to set up like the replanting of buffers or sea wall to minimise the impacts of rising sea levels.
“That may help reclaim the sand base although it will take some time,” Kaluwin said.