The Republic of Kiribati (pronounce Kiribas) in the Central Pacific Ocean consists of 32 low-lying atolls, dispersed over an area of the size of India. The population of Kiribati is 100,000, of which more then half currently live in the capital Tarawa.
Globally, Kiribati is one of the countries most affected by rising sea levels. Part of the atolls are being protected by seawalls and people protect their communities with sandbags. At high tide large areas experience sea water intrusion. This intrusion also affects the availability of fresh drinking water and the availability of land to grow crops.
Sea level is expected to rise, caused not only by the melting of ice caps and glaciers, but also because sea water expands when it warms up. The impact of storm surges and coastal erosion are already very visible. It is very likely that the whole nation will need to be evacuated and will be completely unlivable in 30-60 years, which means the entire population will become stateless. For this reason the government of Kiribati recently purchased a piece of land in Fiji (see the Fiji chapter).