Marshall Islands’ capital Majuro submerged by ‘King tides’

Evacuations start as sea pours into parts of town, highlighting acute dangers of rising sea levels in Pacific

(Pic: Thom Woodroofe/Independent Diplomat)

(Pic: Alson J. Kelen)

Severe flooding in parts of the Marshall Islands capital Majuro has underlined the country’s vulnerability to rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

According to the UN over 600 people were evacuated from their homes after high tides boosted by storm surges sent water pouring through the streets of the town.

Videos posted on Facebook show water mixed with sewage and rubbish pouring through streets. Local media reports no serious injuries.

The US Embassy in Majuro says water started to swamp areas at around four o’clock this morning.

Parts of Majuro are only 30cm above the sea, and are frequently flooded at this time of year due to a series of ‘King tides’.

These are a natural part of tidal cycles and not linked to climate change, but they do give an idea of what higher sea levels could look like.

The latest UN climate science report produced by the IPCC confirmed sea levels have risen by around 20cm since 1900, and could rise by as much as 74cm by 2100.

Last year Pacific Island leaders signed the Majuro Declaration, seeking to raise awareness of the threat climate change poses to their way of life.

VIDEO: Marshall Islands’ chief minister Tony de Brum

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