Marshall Islands says climate change behind floods

Mar 05, 2014
Outrigger canoes are shown near the Marshall Island's capital Majuro on September 3, 2013

Officials in the Marshall Islands blamed climate change Wednesday for severe flooding in the Pacific nation's capital Majuro which has left 1,000 people homeless.

The Marshalls declared a state of emergency in the wake of the flooding, which peaked Monday when surges caused by so-called "king tides" inundated areas of the low-lying capital.

Senator Tony de Brum, the Minister Assisting the President, said king tides were a regular phenomenon, but not at the damaging levels seen this week.

"This is far, far from being a normal situation," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I put that down to ... these things are far more intense than before and leave more destruction behind than they used to."

Alson Kelen, a resident of a small island located about a mile from the downtown area of Majuro, said this week that the king tide was the highest he had ever experienced.

The UN Office for the Cooordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there had been no reports of fatalities or serious injuries due to the flooding.

Climate change is a major concern for Pacific island states such as the Marshals, Kiribati and Tuvalu, where many atolls are barely a metre (three feet) above sea level and risk being engulfed by rising waters.

The Pacific Islands Forum regional bloc signed a declaration calling for renewed global efforts to contain global warming when they met in Majuro last September.

Explore further: Climate science alarming, irrefutable: Kerry

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate science alarming, irrefutable: Kerry

Sep 02, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the evidence for climate change was beyond dispute but it was not too late for international action to prevent its worst impacts.

Pacific climate change pact wins US support

Sep 08, 2013

A new Pacific regional pact calling for aggressive action to combat climate change has achieved a "major accomplishment" by gaining US support, officials said Sunday.

Pacific sounds warning on climate change

Aug 30, 2013

The Marshall Islands has warned that the clock is ticking on climate change and the world needs to act urgently to stop low-lying Pacific nations disappearing beneath the waves.

Recommended for you

Tracking giant kelp from space

17 hours ago

Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won't have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists ...

Heavy metals and hydroelectricity

18 hours ago

Hydraulic engineering is increasingly relied on for hydroelectricity generation. However, redirecting stream flow can yield unintended consequences. In the August 2014 issue of GSA Today, Donald Rodbell of ...

What's wiping out the Caribbean corals?

19 hours ago

Here's what we know about white-band disease: It has already killed up to 95 percent of the Caribbean's reef-building elkhorn and staghorn corals, and it's caused by an infectious bacteria that seems to be ...

User comments : 0