A Media Statement on Cyclone Yasa and Supporting our Pacific Family

As Cyclone Yasa bears down on Fiji, we stand in solidarity with our Pacific Family in calling out the urgent need for action to address climate change in our region.   

Our neighbours are bracing for another hit. COVID-19 has impacted their economy, livelihoods and health, and now they face another devastating blow from this cyclone.   

The Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Rev James Bhagwan, has reached out to us today. He is gravely concerned about his people and the Pacific. 

The cyclone is coming in from the West and so will potentially severely damage the Yasawa and Mamanuca island groups, which are already struggling because of the collapse of the tourism industry. 

We acknowledge that the severity of weather events like these are on the rise, as seen by Tropical Cyclone Pam, Winston and Gita in recent years.  

We acknowledge that our Pacific family are feeling the brunt of the impacts of climate change. They stood with us when last year Bushfires ravaged our nation. So today, we stand with them too. 

The new announcement from the government over the weekend of a further $500 million towards climate change mitigation and adaption is very welcome, but our neighbours want to see us step up in our emissions reduction targets. 

The changing climate and broader ecological degradation, is already impacting directly on the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of the people of the Pacific. 

And as a blue continent, the impacts of climate change on the oceans will affect the Pacific most directly. 

Globally the world is recognising the need for countries to achieve zero emissions by 2050.  

Australia takes great pride in seeing the Pacific as ‘family’. If this is to have true meaning, then Australia needs heed of the call of Pacific people to step up. 

Micah Australia believes Australia can show real leadership on this important issue, and we are committed to advocating for this alongside our Pacific family. 

Media Contact: Beck Wilesmith | 0403 569 773 | [email protected] 

 

Image: Pacific Church Leaders and Pacific Disability Advocates in Canberra for Voices for Justice, December 2019.

 

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