Tuvalu King Tide – Sat 19 Feb 2011

Food & climate change article written on the 19 Feb 2011

Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS

As the king tide hits the small Pacific island of Tuvalu, photographer Rodney Dekker is on the ground for Oxfam to record this event. We’ll be updating you as his reports come in.

Niu Loane stands in his pulaka pit during the king tide.

Pulaka is a root crop like taro and he depends on this food source to feed his family. This traditional garden plantation is impacted by the drought and the king tides. Niu estimates that he has sustained about $5000 in crop losses. He tried to stop the king tide water intruding by building a rock wall around his pit but this has been ineffective as the water bubbles up from the ground within his pit.

One of the three water tanks that supply water to Mahigale Sakau’s family.

The drought has impacted on her family of 15 people and as a result they have been conserving water by bathing in the sea, feeding pigs only once per day instead of twice and by washing clothes once a fortnight compared with every day when not in drought. The drought broke with heavy rains in January but it is forecasted that drought will return for another three months.

Kids playing in the king tide waters.

Tele Vailani looks into the ‘borrow pit’ during the king tide.

Photos: Rodney Dekker