5 Mar 2014

Marshall Islands under state of emergency after flooding

3:15 pm on 5 March 2014

The Marshall Islands is now under a state of emergency, following heavy flooding in the capital of Majuro and surrounding areas that has left at least 1000 people displaced.

Flooding hit in the early hours of Monday morning due to high tides coupled with storm surges.

Some parts of Majuro Atoll are barely 30 centimetres above sea level, and are often flooded during February and March when the region is prone to high tides.

But the minister-in-assistance to the president, Tony de Brum, says this week's tide was exceptionally high, causing damage to about 70 homes.

"The response team is coping with the assistance of the school system and some private schools are also providing temporary lodging for the displaced people but part of the reason for the declaration is to tap into emergency funds and to contact development partners for assistance where appropriate."

Tony de Brum says some homes will need to be shifted or even put on stilts.