The United Nations reports that flooding from unusually high tides has affected thousands of residents in coastal areas of Papua New Guinea. Initial estimates suggest at least 7,000 people have moved for their homes as a result. Coastal flooding was reported on several South Pacific islands around the same time.
Papua New Guinea
In a report of 14 December, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said flooding affected coastal communities in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB), New Ireland Island and Manus and East Sepik provinces between 04 and 06 December 2021.
OCHA said preliminary reports indicate that in the ARoB, at least 3,400 people in four communities in the Carterets Islands have been affected.
In East Sepik Province, 7 low-lying islands were affected, of which four islands are part of Wewak cluster islands and 3 islands are part of Schouten cluster Islands. According to estimated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as many as 7,200 people have been displaced across the villages of Kaup, Murik, Darapab and Karau.
In New Ireland Province, up to 30,000 people are estimated to have been affected. OCHA added that in Manus Province, coastal areas and atolls are flooded affecting areas with a population of approximately 50,000 people.
Affected populations are in need of emergency food, potable water and non-food items. Humanitarian partners, PNG’s National Disaster Center, and the governments of Australia, New Zealand and USA are coordinating the response to needs.
South Pacific Islands Tidal Floods
Storms and high tides caused coastal flooding on several South Pacific islands from around 05 December 2021. Authorities in the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) all reported flooding.
Areas of Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, were left under water. The government of Micronesia said flooding had affected Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae states. The government blamed climate change and long-term rise in sea levels.
“We are watching what’s happening,” said His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, in a statement, “And, first and foremost, I would ask our citizens to feel assured that their Government is aware of what’s happening, and is ready to take action. We stand by to offer our full support to the State Governments when the requests come in, and I encourage the States to make these requests without any hesitation or reservation if they feel it’s necessary. Whether it’s construction supplies or food, we will never abandon our citizens to the existential threat of Climate Change.”