27 Feb 2015

Repair started at Kiribati hospital hit by spring tides

2:49 pm on 27 February 2015

The Kiribati national disaster management office says it is working to repair one of the country's hospitals badly damaged by spring tides.

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Photo: AFP / SPC

Betio Hospital was evacuated last week after being flooded by waves which destroyed its maternity ward, toilet block and part of the sea-wall built to protect it.

The national disaster management office's Michael Foon says patients were first evacuated to a primary school, and have since been moved to a sports complex.

He says flooding of the hospital has happened before, but not to this extent.

"Where the hospital is completely flooded and the surrounding area, resulted in power cuts. This is the first time that we've seen this sort of extensive flooding, it goes maybe 200 metres in-shore, and it's impacting people because they depend on water wells that are now salty. You start seeing breadfruit trees with brown leaves, dropping their leaves and fruit."

Michael Foon says they are trying to mobilise people to clean up the roads, and want repairs to be finished before the next spring tide hits.