Kiribati consists of 32 coral atolls rising just a few metres above the sea level, some of which are already disappearing underwater.

On Wednesday, President Anote Tong said he was negotiating a deal with the Fijian government to purchase 5,000 acres of land on Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji, where his people could resettle.

“This is the last resort,” he said. “There’s no way out of this one, our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages.”

The threat of rising sea levels engulfing the island is not a new one for Kiribati.

Last year, Tong suggested the possibility of constructing man-made islands, similar to oil rigs, on which people could live.

Photo: Flickr CC: Dr Blofeld