Fiji’s Prime Minister Says Country is in ‘Fight for Our Very Survival’ Amid Severe Climate Change

Fiji is entering a “frightening new era” of extreme weather, the leader of the Pacific island nation said Tuesday after flooding from a cyclone killed at least four people.

Cyclone Josie struck Fiji on Sunday. The Pacific island nation of nearly 1 million people avoided a direct hit from the winds, but heavy rains and flooding caused damage to homes, businesses and vehicles on the western side of the main island, Viti Levu.

More than 1,000 people remained in evacuation centers this week as the storm moved away.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said climate change was causing extreme weather events to become more severe and occur more often.

Last November, he chaired a climate summit in Bonn, Germany, and he spoke Tuesday at the launch of a climate change film in the capital, Suva. He said he was trying to deliver the message to the world about confronting the global warming crisis.

It is a “fight for our very survival,” he said, and that “we are now at an almost constant level of threat.” He said countries must limit the global temperature increase, as agreed under the Paris climate accord.

President Trump decided to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement, which committed to pursing efforts to limit temperature increases. The deal requires countries to set their own targets for reducing emissions by 2020. It also established a $100 billion fund to help vulnerable countries deal with the effects of climate change.

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press