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Vanishing Point, Tuvalu

The world's third smallest country, Tuvalu, with a total population of around ten thousand,
is an island nation on the frontline of the global threat of climate change. With the highest
point in the Capital of Funafuti only a few meters above sea level, king tides already
breaching parts of the island and sea levels rising as a result of melting polar ice caps, the
nation will be among the first to face extinction. On top of that, the people of Funafuti face
life in third world living and housing conditions, they have zero arable land, minimal
employment opportunities, land and water shortages and significant health problems.

Tuvalu also bares the scars of WWII. The United States built a runway on the island,
digging borrow pits along much of its length and using the soil therefrom to fill the airstrip.
The foundations of an anti aircraft gun remain at one end of the island, though due to continual erosion, water now laps at the footings which had once stood safely on dry land.
Despite all this, life on Tuvalu continues. Families fish the seemingly pristine waters by
night or butcher a pig for a special occasion. Seaman come and go to places such as
Australia and New Zealand and as far away as Germany. Young men play all manner of
sports on the air strip from dawn each day while police report for parade a few hundred
meters down the runway. Children cool off throughout the day in the lagoon and young
revelers drink from 4L casks of wine and sweat it out on the dance floor of the national

As the water slowly inundates the narrow fingers of land it will be the responsibility of the Tuvalu’s neighbours in the region to address the humanitarian plight as the very real prospect of extinction draws closer.

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