Reverend Eria is a pastor of the Children of God protestant church in the village of Tebekenikoora (English: “The Golden Beach”) located on the lagoon side of the main island of Tarawa.

The village was settled in the early 1980′s and comprises people who came to Tarawa from the outer islands and who had a connection to the Church. The village has a school and a Maneaba (meeting hall).

Tebekenikoora is exposed to the westerly winds, which blow at regular periods every year. The wind and high tide in combination regularly exerts pressure on the sea wall, which protects the community from inundation. The sea wall is hand-built and needs to be regularly maintained. Funds to make that possible are beyond the reach of the community. The Kiribati government has to prioritise coastal protection of public assets like the airport, hospitals or the causeway. Therefore it lacks the resources to help communities like Tebekenikoora.

The village sea wall has been regularly breached and damaged. The frequency of this happening has increased especially over the last 10 years. Each year the spring high tides inundate the village, the water rising almost to the floor of the Maneaba. Many families would like to move out, but few have connections with relatives in Tarawa. Apart from squatting on someone else’s land (which has legal and social implications), the only alternative the locals have got is to move back to their islands. On these islands, however, the situation facing them will be no different