Journey to the Sinking Lands

A witness to the world's first evacuation of an entire people due to climate change

A rising tide (of panic)

People often ask me “When are you leaving?”

Good question.

Ursula Rakova

Ursula Rakova

Over the past six months, I’ve been in regular email and phone contact with the woman who is leading the evacuation of the Carteret, Ursula Rakova.

Considering she’s living in a pretty wild and wooly part of the world, Ursula has always been really good at staying in touch. And then, as soon as news came through that I would be getting funding from the Royal Geographical Society to travel to the islands, nothing.

Hopefully, she is just out of contact on one of the islands. Or has dropped her mobile into the sea. And her computer. Hmmm. I need to find a way to get in touch with her soon, so I can sort out tickets, and a visa, and so on and so on. Ursula, if you are reading this…

Joking aside, I have had one email, a week ago today, which gives you a pretty good idea that Ursula may have a lot on her mind at the moment:

Hello Dan,
I was away on holiday for 4 weeks and only returned a few days ago.  We have great difficulties with finance but we have some land secured in 2 locations.  Money is very hard in coming though, for purchase of land, survey and building homes for the families.  Most crucial aspects that not too many donors wish to support, I am afraid.  Our work on the relocation site is on going but we’re not getting enough financial support as expected.
Yes, we will be moving only 5 families in March and hopefully 20 by October if the funds come in.  thank you so much.


  Diem Tran wrote @

Hi Ursula,

How are you?

My name is Diem Tran and I’m from the Love Earth Gathering group in Sydney.

If you are able and available, we have an event organised for the 18th of April 2009 about raising awareness of Climate Change and how it has affected people. We are looking for speakers and it would be much appreciated if someone like you could speak on behalf of those who have been hit hard by climate change.

Kind Regards,
Diem Tran

[…] money needed to evacuate the residents has not been coming in as had been hoped writes Rakova in an email to Box. These funds are important to help purchase land and to build homes for the residents. She will […]

[…] dinheiro necessário aguardado para evacuar os residentes não apareceu, escreve Rakova por e-mail para Box. Esses fundos eram ajuda importante para a compra de terrenos e para construção de casas para os […]

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