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ISLAND NATION FEARS IT MAY WASH AWAY

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The prime minister of the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu fears his country will go the way of Atlantis - disappearing under the sea as global warming raises the sea level.

Tuvalu is just 25 feet above sea level at its highest point, and Kamuta Latasi said that with strong winds and the erosion of beaches, some of its small islands are already disappearing."Although they are not disappearing in a week or a month's time, I think we have got an obligation to do something before things get worse," Latasi told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Thursday.

With United Nations help, Tuvalu has been trying to reinforce its coastline with concrete blocks. But Latasi said strong waves are breaking up the concrete.

Latasi, with a population of 9,000, has appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take more people from Tuvalu as migrants. But he said Australia had told him it could not favor Tuvaluans.