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Sea-threatened Kiribati mulls moving people to Fiji

The low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati is considering buying land in Fiji to resettle its population which is threatened by rising sea levels. Kiribati's President Anote Tong says he is involved in talks with the Fijian government to purchase land on Vanua Levu - Fiji's second largest island. Mr Tong says this is the last resort to save more than 100,000 islanders. Some of Kiribati's 32 coral atolls - which straddle the equator - are already disappearing beneath the ocean. None of the atolls rises more than a few metres above the sea level. Mr Tong says that climate change is a daily battle for Kiribati - but admits that it is one that his country would ultimately lose. However, relocating the entire population to Fiji - more than 2,000km (1,300 miles) away - would be a monumental challenge, the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney reports. Kiribati's officials hope that many people would also be allowed to settle in other countries in the vast region, including Australia and New Zealand. Previously, Mr Tong suggested constructing man-made islands resembling oil rigs for people to live on.

BBC © 2012