Marshall Islands: Tidal flooding has caused widespread damage

A state of emergency has been declared in Marshall Islands due to king tides which have inundated communities living on low-lying attols.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, regional office for the Pacific says waves washed over shorelines, sending water, rubbish and debris across roads and properties.

There are no reports of fatalities or serious injuries, however a state of emergency has been declared.

Preliminary assessments in the capital Majuro show 69 homes have been damaged.

The Rairok Elementary School, a waste site, cemetery and airport road have also been damaged by the flood.

Four evacuation centres have been established in schools and churches, sheltering 800 evacuees, although the total number of displaced people is estimated to be around 1,000 with many staying in hotels or with family and friends.

In Arno Atoll 36 homes were damaged and 246 people displaced.

A number of outer islands have also been affected, however information is yet to be obtained.

The severity of the tides is expected to ease by Wednesday morning.

Marshall Islands Climate Change Minister Tony de Brum says recovery efforts have begun.

But he says says areas once assumed safe to build on may not support housing in the future.

“We are hopeful that those houses that are far away enough from the shoreline that they may be able to be repaired in such a way that a similar tide within the next five to 10 years can be staved off,” he said.

“We are hopeful they can start repairing and returning soon.”

Mr de Brum has called on Australian political leaders to do more to help the Pacific deal with climate change.

“When the king tides come, and the salt inundates, it doesn’t go away,” he said.

“The salt remains in the soil and in the groundwater.

“If the people of Australia understood a little better and were able to see the kind of affect that climate change is having on the small island countries I am sure they will have something to say to their leadership.”

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OUR COMMENT ON THE LAST PARAGRAPH:

High tide and king tide are effects as result of metaphysical phenomena in relation to the position/distance of the Moon with the Earth. “Climate”do not have any relation with such water rising.

If anyone wishes to speak in terms of climate, he or she should explain this way: More flooding are normally effects as result of more warming temperatures. But they do not influence the tides directly. It’s the rising sea level that does due to events such as melting ice and more longstanding rain. The higher the sea level, the more water masses will be attracted as result by the Moon which then causes the water rising as mentioned before.

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