- Island nations in the South Pacific were cleaning up on Wednesday after storms and tidal surges triggered flooding, with rising seas caused by climate change blamed for the inundation.
- Solomon Islands police warned residents to stay away from swollen streams and rivers.
Island nations in the South Pacific were cleaning up on Wednesday after storms and tidal surges triggered flooding, with rising seas caused by climate change blamed for the inundation.
The Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia all reported flooding, with reports that rising waters also hit remote parts of Vanuatu.
“The Government of Federated States of Micronesia is being made aware of extensive saltwater inundation across the islands as a result of ongoing king tides and storm surges,” President Panuelo stated in a statement.
“The government has received many requests from citizens asking for support.”
In the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro, seawater surged over boulder barriers and covered road sections to the airport to a depth of 50 centimeters (20 inches) before receding.
Solomon Islands police warned residents to stay away from swollen streams and rivers.
Climate researcher Ford said the flooding in the Marshalls was due to a combination of La Nina weather patterns, high tides, lousy weather, and a long-term rise in sea levels, widely attached to global warming.
“An event like this will have been relatively harmless in the 1990s, but the sea level is notably higher today than back then,” Auckland University stated.
“Sea level rise is increasing the magnitude and frequency of these events.”
Ford said that tidal measuring equipment was installed in Majuro in the early 1990s. The sea levels had risen by an average of 4.8 millimeters annually.
“Unfortunately, with sea-level rise, these flooding events would become more widespread, more frequent, and far more severe. We might plan and prepare for this now,” said Majuro resident and former Marshall Islands chief secretary Ben Graham.
The Pacific’s low-lying islands are the countries worst affected by climate change, with some at risk of being swamped entirely by rising seas.
They are threatened by increasingly powerful cyclones, while droughts and flooding are becoming common across the region as the weather swings from one end to the other.
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