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Guam- The government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has called for a national clean up in the wake of major flooding that occurred a few days ago.
Government offices and residents that live in the capital city of Majuro have banded together to clean up the mess that was caused by one of the worst floods to affect the Marshall Islands in the last decade.
RMI Environmental Protection Authority General Manager Lowell Alik is here on Guam for the 27th Pacific Islands Environment Conference (PIEC). He tells PNC recovery efforts are challenging as unusually higher tides batter the low lying coral atolls.
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“This is probably the highest, the worst one we've had in about probably 10 years,” said Alik. “We were told by those that did the survey, that the waves went up to 5 or 6 feet. And some of the sea walls that were on the ocean side have been destroyed.”
Alik believes the recent super moon played a factor, but he is still concerned rising seas, associated with what he says is climate change, are slowly eroding his island nation.
He mentions the Marshall Islands expects some flooding during their high tide season, but not like this.
“Usually from January to April, which is usually our high tide season, usually not as bad as this that we've had,” said Alik.
As a result of large swells closing the Majuro airport, 50 people were stranded on Guam on Tuesday because their flights were re-directed. However, Alik says that number was reduced down to 11.
“Now there are 11 people that are here on Guam. some have canceled their trip to the Marshall Islands and have decided to return to Honolulu and the mainland,” said Alik. “We still have 11 here that are on their way home back to Majuro and trying to get back on the flight. But the flights here from Guam to Majuro are fully booked. From here to Honolulu are also fully booked as well.”
Since 2 of his staff couldn't make the conference because of the sea water flooding, Alik has been housing a few people in hotel rooms that were meant for them. He says they have been trying to make due with being short staffed and taking care of the situation back home.
“It's been very, very hard because myself and the other staff of mine have been juggling between all the sessions,” said Alik. “And these are all very important sessions that we all have to be a part of.”
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