Parts of Marshall Islands flooded by high tide and storm surges
High tide energised by storm surges leaves damaged homes and big clean up.
A high tide coupled with storm surges has flooded many parts of Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, forcing some people to stay in temporary shelters.
The United States Embassy in Majuro says the widespread inundation started around four o'clock this morning when the tide was high.
Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says some homes have been damaged by flooding and there is a big clean up underway.
GIFF JOHNSON: Every year in February and March are the highest tides of the year in the Marshall Islands so it is not unusual for us to get flooding in some of the low areas but this morning early before sunrise the high tide was accompanied by storm surges, apparently a storm to the east of Japan has created a wave surge and this fueled this high tide so we had flooding through many parts of Majuro atoll, the capital. I am sure some of the outer islands also have been experiencing the same kind of inundation. So far, as we can tell, no injuries, but quite a number of houses are damaged and a lot of debris up on the roads and so on.
AMELIA LANGFORD: And are those storm surges expected to continue or is the worst over now?
GIFF JOHNSON: The weather station has warned that we could have a repeat tonight before 4 and 7.30 - the high tide is about 5.30 tonight and the storm surges are continuing so it is a concern for possible more flooding tonight. The US Embassy has also put out an alert to residents - not only for tonight but also for tomorrow - because the tides are both around five feet, a little bit over five feet, which are considered king tides here. It's our highest tides of the year.
AL: And what would this look like? these tides are massive?
GJ: What happens is water just starts rolling across the atoll and some of the areas, there are only a couple of hundred feet of land separating the ocean from the lagoon and this morning some of the areas - the water washed right across from the ocean side right across to the lagoon side of the island. So, it just dumps massive amounts of coral and rocks and garbage onto the road. So we have had emergency crews out bulldozing, clearing the roads, and helping people with cleanup because that is what happens after these floods there is just a huge cleanup operation for people. One of the local schools and some of the churches have opened up their facilities for people whose houses were flooded and so some people are staying in these shelters at the moment.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: