On 3 March, tidal surges during the morning and afternoon high tides caused inundation to communities on low-lying atolls. Waves washed over shorelines, sending water, rubbish and debris across roads and properties.
There are no reports of fatalities or serious injuries. In the capital Majuro (population 25,400), preliminary assessments have identified damage to 69 homes, as well as Rairok Elementary School, the waste site, cemetery and airport road. Four evacuation centres have been established in schools and churches, sheltering 800 evacuees, although the total number of displaced people is estimated to be around 1,000 with many staying in hotels or with family and friends. In Arno Atoll (population 2,000), there were 36 homes damaged and 246 people displaced. A number of outer islands have also been affected, however information is yet to be obtained.
A state of emergency was declared late this afternoon. The Government set-up an Emergency Operations Centre yesterday and has been holding National Disaster Committee meetings with humanitarian partners, including donors, the International Organization for Migration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Marshall Islands Red Cross Society. Red Cross has mobilized eight volunteers who are taking part in assessments and distributing relief supplies at evacuation centres.
The severity of the tides is expected to ease by tomorrow morning and the next update will be issued as new information becomes available.
Video footage of king tides impacting Majuro: http://goo.gl/w6dMgc
For further information, please contact:
Elisabeth McLeod, Public Information Officer, OCHA Regional Office for the Pacific, email@example.com, +679 999 1423
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.