A young boy swims in a flooded area near the airport runway, in downtown Funafuti. A young boy swims in a flooded area near the airport runway, in downtown Funafuti.
A local woman stands at the narrowest point of Fongafale island in the Funafuti atoll. A local woman stands at the narrowest point of Fongafale island in the Funafuti atoll.
A Tuvaluan woman looks out from a boat as it passes through the Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. A Tuvaluan woman looks out from a boat as it passes through the Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu.
An aerial view of Fongafale island in the Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. An aerial view of Fongafale island in the Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu.
People play volleyball next to a flooded area near the airport runway, in downtown Funafuti. People play volleyball next to a flooded area near the airport runway, in downtown Funafuti.
Just offshore one of Tuvalu's beaches, a piece of machinery has stood against the waves for more than 70 years. It is a piece of machinery left by American forces during their stationing on Tuvalu during World War 2. The island nation was a key position in the Pacific theatre and was home to some 6000 American troops who launched aerial raids against Japanese forces further north. Just offshore one of Tuvalu's beaches, a piece of machinery has stood against the waves for more than 70 years. It is a piece of machinery left by American forces during their stationing on Tuvalu during World War 2. The island nation was a key position in the Pacific theatre and was home to some 6000 American troops who launched aerial raids against Japanese forces further north.
Fallen trees in the shallows of Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. Erosion of land is an inevitable consequence of life in a coral atoll nation. As sea levels rise and increased threats from storm surges and extreme weather events occur, the land of Tuvalu will increasingly become fragile and prone to erosion. Fallen trees in the shallows of Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. Erosion of land is an inevitable consequence of life in a coral atoll nation. As sea levels rise and increased threats from storm surges and extreme weather events occur, the land of Tuvalu will increasingly become fragile and prone to erosion.
A truck and motorbikes pass through a dumpsite at the northern end of Fongafale island. Waste management is a problem for an island nation such as Tuvalu that's located in a remote corner of the pacific Ocean. A truck and motorbikes pass through a dumpsite at the northern end of Fongafale island. Waste management is a problem for an island nation such as Tuvalu that's located in a remote corner of the pacific Ocean.
A boy is seen from above as he rides a wave that is travelling in from the Pacific Ocean onto the Tuvaluan coastline. A boy is seen from above as he rides a wave that is travelling in from the Pacific Ocean onto the Tuvaluan coastline.
A young boy swings from a tree on one of the islands in the Funafuti atoll. A young boy swings from a tree on one of the islands in the Funafuti atoll.
An aerial view of an island in the Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. An aerial view of an island in the Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu.
South Korean fishing vessels in the main lagoon at the centre of the Funafuti atoll. South Korean fishing vessels in the main lagoon at the centre of the Funafuti atoll.
Children play in abandoned home in central Funafuti. The Pacific island nation has seen an exodus of people who have already fled to countries such as New Zealand and Australia in search of better economic opportunities and less environmental threats. Children play in abandoned home in central Funafuti. The Pacific island nation has seen an exodus of people who have already fled to countries such as New Zealand and Australia in search of better economic opportunities and less environmental threats.
A young boy puts his hands over his face near a dead fish on the shores of a beach in Funafuti. A young boy puts his hands over his face near a dead fish on the shores of a beach in Funafuti.
An earth mover lies abandoned and prone to the waves of the Pacific Ocean in Funafuti. An earth mover lies abandoned and prone to the waves of the Pacific Ocean in Funafuti.
A young boy plays outside a dilapidated church that is being flooded during the spring King Tides. A young boy plays outside a dilapidated church that is being flooded during the spring King Tides.

Tuvalu – 2019

Tuvalu is on the front line of climate change.

This unique country is made up of a series of nine islands and coral atolls totalling only 26 square kilometres in land area, spread out near the equator in the western Pacific Ocean.

With an average elevation of only one meter above sea level, the United Nations has predicted that it may be the first nation to disappear, as a result of rising sea levels.

The fourth smallest country in the world and one of the least visited, the plight of Tuvalu’s 11,000 residents has been overlooked and underreported.

Each year, seasonal ‘king tides’ inundate the islands of Tuvalu, severely flooding large swathes of the country between the months of January and March.

Additionally, the erosion of land, saltwater encroachment during storm surges and difficulties with waste management, all exacerbate the problems Tuvalu faces.

Sean Gallagher travelled to Tuvalu in March 2019 to document the environmental challenges the country currently faces. This is the latest chapter in his long-term work chronicling the effects of climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.

A NEW LIMITED EDITION MAGAZINE OF THIS WORK IS AVAILABLE HERE.

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