Marshalls under state of emergency following severe flooding
Marshall Islands declares state of emergency following severe flooding that has left 1000 temporarily homeless.
The Marshall Islands is now under a state of emergency, following heavy flooding in the capital of Majuro and surrounding areas that has left at least 1000 people displaced.
Flooding hit in the early hours of Monday morning due to a high tide, or king tide, coupled with storm surges.
Some parts of Majuro Atoll are barely 30 centimetres above sea level, and are often flooded during February and March when the region is prone to high tides.
But the minister-in-assistance to the president, Tony de Brum, told Amelia Langford this high tide was exceptional.
TONY DE BRUM: Tides have receded a bit but we are still housing more than 940 displaced persons from about 70 homes that were damaged during the high tides. They are being housed by schools and fed by the disaster response team but we are trying to help people repair damaged homes as well as assisting in trying to relocate where possible. As you know, many of the people who live in Majuro are not from Majuro but are from the outer islands seeking jobs and opportunities here in the capital. So, that may take some time but we are trying to make sure that homes that were in particularly vulnerable soil areas are relocated and we are hoping to find suitable locations.
AMELIA LANGFORD: And part of the problem is that some of these homes are built very close to the shore line - is that correct?
TDB: Well, yes, but they have been, originally, there for the past 60 years. As the tide becomes more threatening we have to begin to move them backwards. It is either that or probably raise them on stilts, maybe. But it is far from being a normal high tide when you have 940 people displaced in one day and probably stay for feeding and a support programme for at least 60 to 90 days.
AL: Okay, is the worst of the weather over now? Or are more king tides expected?
TDB: Look, the worst of this particular king tide is over. We have a new moon now. But we are expecting that the full moon tides in about two weeks will also have some pronounced tides and probably an inundation along the shorelines. The island is susceptible to the king tides, around February, March and October.
AL: Okay and is the Government able to cope with all these people who are temporarily homeless?
TDB: The response team is coping with the assistance of the school system and some private schools are also providing temporary lodging for the displaced people but part of the reason for the declaration is to tap into emergency funds and to contact development partners for assistance where appropriate.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: