Humans of Kiribati


The Hungry Tide

Photographer’s Caption: In this picture, we see the impact of Cyclone Pam’s initial waves on the Capital Island of Tarawa. Sandbag walls, constructed from reused rice bags and gathered sand are often the island’s only defense against king tides, storms, and cyclones. “To be honest I thought this is the end of my world. It’s like watching a live movie. People running for their lives, BUT praise the Lord it’s just a mini tsunami. Heaps of things destroyed, fortunately no one is harmed. Now, people are beginning to wonder how long they will be able to remain in their homeland.”

The Last Generation Teaoraereke Village Tarawa

Photographer’s Caption: In this picture, we see two children from what might be our last generation. One points to the horizon, while the other stands by. Where will their lives lead them? Who will they become? How will they survive? These are all questions we as a world should collectively wonder about our future generations.

Photographer’s Caption:  Sandbag walls used to prevent coastal erosion succumb to king tides in Kiribati. Outgoing President Tong delivered an address at a climate change conference in Victoria University where he said, “People are getting quite scared now and we need immediate solutions. This is why I want to rush the solutions so there will be a sense of comfort for our people. They can’t sleep when the tide is high.”

Photographer’s Caption: On March 9, 2015, South Tarawa experienced strong winds with rough seas and high tides causing further destruction. Most of the seawalls that were recently constructed have been destroyed. Roads are covered with sand, gravel and big stones from the ocean again. Residential houses along the coastal area are greatly affected by the strong waves too. Our lives are very threatened by sea level rise and we are worried about our future. Our wells which are our only source of fresh water have become salinized and are rendered unsuitable for drinking now. Our main food plants such as breadfruit and pawpaw are dying because of the ocean. Most vehicle owners don’t want to drive through the ocean’s remains, leaving many businesses and offices closed indefinitely. Confounding the problem, many workers do not want to go to work today as they stay home to rebuild sea walls from the rubble before the next king tide in a few days’ time.

Photographer’s Caption:  Our generation may not have a home. Because of rising tides that now wash over our islands. Because of higher temperatures that worsen prolonged droughts. Because of cyclones that now travel into, and destroy our lands. Our generation may not have a home. Despite this, we remain steadfast and proud to be from Kiribati, our home, and country we love.

Photographer’s Caption: Unusually high king tides, with Cyclone Pam in the area, brought this boat into our back yard. What is happening???

Photographer’s Caption: South Tarawa is home to more than 50,000 people, roughly half of the national population of Kiribati. It may be small, but it is home and it is good. #Nothinglikehome

For more from the Humans of Kiribati – (Co-Founder) Raimon Kataotao – visit them at: