More than 200 evacuate as unseasonal tides lead to freak floods, Marshall Islands

More than 200 evacuate as unseasonal tides lead to freak floods, Marshall Islands

Over 200 people have been forced to evacuate after freak waves from unseasonal tides sweep across capital city Majuro in the Marshall Islands on Wednesday, November 27, 2019.

Swells averaging 5 m (16 feet) washed debris onto roads, temporarily blocking access to the international airport.

The Marshall Islands Red Cross Society (RMIRC) had set up evacuation centers at two schools. Local churches and mosques also offered help by opening their doors to displaced residents.

marshall-islands-evacuation-nov-28-2019

Image credit: RMIRC

evacuations-marshall-island-nov-28-2019

Image credit: RMIRC

"Red Cross Volunteers assisted families last night in moving them to the shelters at North Delap Elementary School and Rita Elementary. Moving them to safety from high tides," the organization stated.

"High Surf Advisory is still in effect for Thursday and Friday, please plan accordingly."

"The key driver of this current inundation appears to be a large swell which has arrived from a more northerly direction than the typical trade wind swell," climate researcher Murray Ford explained.

"This particular event would be best described as a large swell, meeting a high, but not unusually high tide."

Disaster response teams were expected to finish the damage assessment by Friday, November 29.

Featured image credit: Stephen Clark

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