Fiji May Get Influx of New Citizens as Nearby Islands Sink

The population of Fiji may get a huge bump this year: The Telegraph is reporting that the low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land in Fiji so it can relocate approximately 113,000 islanders under threat from rising sea levels.

In what could be the world's first climate-induced migration of modern times, Anote Tong, the Kiribati president, said he was in talks with Fiji's military government to buy up to 5,000 acres of freehold land on which his countrymen could be housed. Some of Kiribati's 32 flat coral atolls are already disappearing beneath the waves.

The land Kiribati wants to buy is understood to be on Vanua Levu, Fiji's second-largest island. Vanua Levu is home to numerous high-end hotels and resorts, like Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort and Namale the Fiji Islands Resort & Spa. With a sudden influx of immigrants to the island all looking for jobs, several outcomes seem likely: More hotels and resorts could open, or new cities with their own industries could be founded to provide housing and professions for the new workers. In any case, if this deal goes through, Vanua Levu's tourism scene seems almost certain to change forever.

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