The impact of Cyclone Winston on Fiji has been severe as the Pacific nation was lashed with very destructive hurricane force winds Saturday gusting to 300 kmph. The storm had earlier hit Tonga, where Caritas is now delivering aid.
Global temperatures averaging almost 1oC above normal. For people in some parts of the world, this might still seem like a technical measurement, or a future concern. For us in Oceania, it is rapidly becoming a matter of life or death.
Up to 90 percent of buildings on one of Vanuatu main islands have been destroyed or damaged as aid workers rush to help survivors of Cyclone Pam. Caritas has sent emergency staff to Vanuatu to link up with local church structures.
People on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu sheltered in churches and schools as a powerful tropical cyclone hit overnight. Scores are feared dead and thousands affected in one of the largest cyclones to hit the country.
Sea levels in Kiribati have averaged a rise of 3.7 millimetres a year since 1992 (Australian National Tidal centre). With sea levels rising and most of Kiribati only two meters high, the end is in sight for the 98,000 residents.
Caritas Oceania first raised the issue of climate change with the member organisations of Caritas Internationalis some years ago, when it was not a major issue for the Confederation, and is very pleased that Caritas Internationalis now has a strong focus on climate change.