A sinking feeling on Saibai

The Guardian

Video by Saila Huusko/The Guardian

Saibai is one of more than 200 islands and coral cays that make up the Torres Strait, the archipelago straddling the waters between the northernmost tip of mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea. Eighteen of the strait’s islands are inhabited. For most of the island communities here, the impact of climate change is a daily reality. Coastal erosion, rising sea levels, worsening yearly floods, frightening king tides and drought are all regular occurrences.

Encroaching Seas

Rising ocean levels are threatening homes, livelihoods and traditional cultures

Marshall Islands

By Krista Langlois


As the ocean seeps into homes and buckles roads, it’s shifting from a source of inspiration to one of fear. Some Marshallese have already started to plan for relocation. Yet unlike other climate refugees—people from the island nation of Kiribati buying backup land in Fiji, for example, or the family from Tuvalu seeking climate refugee status in New Zealand—the Marshallese know exactly where they’ll go. An agreement that came into force when the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986 allows any citizen to live and work in the United States indefinitely, without a visa or green card.

Pacific Islands

By Priestley Habru


There are troubled waters ahead for a Polynesia group of people within the Melanesian country of Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Residents of the remote Polynesian islands in the archipelago Ontong Java (commonly referred to as Lord Howe by Solomon Islanders) are seeing their home slowly disappear under the sea.

Nile Delta

By Emily Crane


In Egypt, the sea is warming, rising and expanding onto the low-lying, delta lands and seeping into the water that feeds them. By the end of the century, 60 percent of the delta region will be so saturated with salt as to be barely farmable. As much as 20 percent of this once-fertile land will be covered in water. When this happens, two-thirds of Egypt’s food will drown and two-thirds of the country’s population will be left homeless and hungry.