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Rising seas swamp Marshall Islands

11 march, 15:21
0
A resident walks through tidal water in Majuro Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. ©AFP
A resident walks through tidal water in Majuro Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. ©AFP

Residents in low-lying areas of the Marshall Islands were braced for ongoing flooding Friday, as a series of inundations underscored the Pacific island nation's vulnerability to climate change, AFP reports.

A combination of king tides and storm surges have swamped several communities in the Marshalls this week, tossing rocks and debris into roads, backyards and homes.

While no one was injured and damage was slight compared to ocean flooding over the past two years, the waters were expected to return Friday and experts say the pattern will increase in frequency as ocean levels rise.

Several hundred residents on Kili Island had to leave their flooded homes on Wednesday, the second time in as many years that high tides have caused significant flooding there.

The island is home-in-exile for Bikini islanders who were moved by the US Navy from their home atoll in 1946 to start nuclear weapons testing.

"We had to move families from the northern part of Kili to the town area because their houses were flooded again," Bikini mayor Anderson Jibas said.

"We are on full alert (for more flooding)," he added.

In the capital Majuro, some homeowners whose houses were flooded with about 15 centimetres (six inches) of seawater called on the government to bolster seawalls and shoreline protection.

Murray Ford, a climate researcher based at the University of Auckland, said Majuro had been inundated 20 times since 1979, with half a dozen of these coming in the past five years.


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