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Report: climate change creating food shortages in the Pacific

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Food shortages and eroding coastlines are an increasingly urgent problem across the Pacific, thanks to climate change.

Caritas has released Turning the Tide, its 2017 report on the state of the environment in Oceania, reports NZ Herald.

Problems accessing safe food and drinking water were highlighted, with the increasing frequency of natural disasters making the problem more urgent.

“Our experience in 2016/17 is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the health and integrity of these sources [of local food supplies] – especially after a disaster,” the report said.

“The poor are most affected when local supplies are disrupted – they often cannot afford to buy food and water from other sources.”

Those living in Tuvalu and Vanuatu had been forced to permanently change their diet after Cyclone Pam.

Climate justice advocate Aso Ioapo said locals hadn’t been able to replant crops damaged by the storm surges and flooding of the 2015 disaster.

“Since the cyclone they have had to use more imported food, from stores, including chicken, meat, because our food was destroyed in the cyclone.

“Imported food is very new for us in our lives.

“We miss all of our local foods, because in Tuvalu they really need the fish every day … you have breakfast, morning, lunch and dinner with the fish.”

Caritas rated the impact of coastal erosion, flooding, and rising seas as “severe”.