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14 islands threatened by climate change

By: Katherine Butler on Jan. 10, 2018, 11:44 a.m.
Former residents of the Carteret Islands are considered the first climate refugees.

Photo: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

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Carteret Islands

This atoll is located in the South Pacific and is made up of five scattered islands scattered in a 19 mile-long horseshoe shape. The total land area of the islands is about 0.2 square miles, and the highest elevation is close to 5 feet above sea level.

Like many islanders, those living on the atoll have constructed sea walls and planted mangrove trees to counter rising sea levels, but it won't be enough, according to some residents.

"The children will have to move later, for sure," school teacher Jarreanne Prabon told UNICEF. "I can see the food becoming scarcer, the clean water harder to come by. There's not enough land to sustain us because the land is disappearing under the ocean."

Many islanders have already left, considered to be the world's first environmental refugees. Some have been resettled on Bougainville Island, about 50 miles away from the atoll.