The Pacific Ocean is the world’s biggest and deepest ocean. It stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the Southern Ocean. The ocean’s western border touches Asia and Australia while its eastern border touches North and South America. The Pacific Ocean occupies 33.3% of the earth’s surface with an area of 63.6 million square miles. The ocean is larger than the entire land area on earth. The deepest point on the Pacific has a depth of 36,201 feet. The vast Pacific Ocean is dotted with island countries such as Kiribati, Palau, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, and Tonga.
Fiji is an island nation found in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. It occupies an area of 7,056 square miles. Fiji is home to an estimated population of 912,000 residents. The country is comprised of a chain of more than 330 islands. Out of the many islands, only 110 have permanent inhabitants. The two main islands are Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. They accommodate 87% of Fiji’s population. Fiji’s capital is Suva and it is on Viti Levu Island. Most residents on the island live in the coastal region. Fiji relies largely on tourism to generate its revenues. The nation’s capital serves as the main cruise port. Fiji is one of the advanced economies in the Pacific region. It has vast quantities of natural resources such as mineral deposits, indigenous forests, and fish resources.
The Republic of Kiribati is an independent country situated in the central Pacific Ocean. It consists of a series of islands spread out through all the four hemispheres. Some of the chain islands are; Line Islands, Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and Banaba. The country occupies a total area of 313 square miles. Kiribati has a population of slightly more than 110,000 people. Kiribati is one of the nations exposed to the negative effects of global warming. Some of Kiribati’s Islands have already been affected. A report by the Pacific Regional Environment Program states that in 1999, two of Kiribati’s Islets disappeared underwater. The country experiences Equatorial Oceanic climate. Kiribati lacks natural resources. It relies mainly on donations from foreign countries and international organizations.
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia is a sovereign country in the Western Pacific Ocean. The country is made of four states which are formed by approximately 607 Islands. The country occupies a combined area of 271 square miles. It has an estimated population of 104,000 people. The nation’s main source of revenue is fishing and farming. The country also receives financial assistance from the United States. The country’s remote location makes it hard to develop its tourism industry.
Nauru is a sovereign country in the Central Pacific region. Its closest neighbor is Banaba Island, 190 miles away. Nauru is quite a small country. It occupies an area of 8.1 square miles and has a population of approximately 11,200 people. The island nation has the world’s third smallest land area. It is also the tiniest state in the Pacific region. The country once depended on phosphate extraction as a source of income. However, the phosphate levels declined. Currently, Nauru largely relies on financial help from Australia to run its operations.
Samoa is a sovereign country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The country is made of two main islands and eight small islands. Its land area is 1,097 square miles. The two principal islands take up 99% of the total land area, and they are Upolu and Savaii. Samoa has a population of more than 195,000 residents. Samoa experiences equatorial climate. The country once had vast rainforests throughout its landscape. However, a lot of the natural forests have been destroyed to create human settlements. The South Pacific nation of Samoa is classified as a developing country. Some of the major sectors in the country are Agriculture, Tourism, Financial Services, and manufacturing.
The Solomon Islands is an independent country made up of six principal islands and more than 900 tiny islands all located in the Pacific Ocean. The Solomon Islands have a combined area of 11,000 square miles. The country accommodates a population of close to 600,000 residents. The Solomon Islands experience an equatorial climate which is so humid all year round. The Solomon Islands once had thick rainforests, but excessive logging has greatly reduced the country’s forest cover. The Islands have an abundance of mineral deposits such as zinc, gold, nickel, and Lead. The Solomon Islands is also involved in the fishing industry in the Pacific waters.
The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the Southern region of the Pacific Ocean. It is formed by the union of more than 169 islands. The Kingdom has a total area of 290 square miles. Tonga is home to approximately 100,650 residents. Only 36 islands of the 169 have permanent inhabitants. The islands are classified into three main groups namely; Tongatapu, Vava’u, and Ha’apai. Tongatapu is Tonga’s largest island and has an area of 99 square miles. Tonga enjoys a tropical climate. Tonga relies mainly on its diaspora community for income. The agricultural sector is also a key industry in Tonga. Most of the residents in Tonga work in the agriculture industry growing crops such as coffee, taro, coconuts, sweet potatoes, and vanilla beans.
Challenges Faced by Island Countries in the Pacific Ocean
There are numerous island nations scattered in different parts of the Pacific Ocean. The island nations are estimated to have a combined population of approximately 2.3 million people. These countries experience some hardships. Firstly, the Pacific Island nations are located in extremely remote locations where access is a challenge. As a result, development in such regions is quite limited. Secondly, the island countries are quite small regarding the land area and therefore have few natural resources. It explains why most countries in the Pacific region are poor. Thirdly, the countries in the Pacific Ocean are highly exposed to harsh climatic conditions such as storms, hurricanes, and cyclones and the effects of global warming are more pronounced in the Pacific Ocean region. The countries continuously need support from international development partners to grow their economies.