mandag 18. oktober 2021

Rising sea levels threaten Marshall Islands’ status as a nation, World Bank report warns

Projected sea level rise would mean 40% of the buildings in the Marshall Islands’ capital of Majuro would be permanently flooded and entire islands would disappear, potentially costing the Pacific country its status as a nation, according to a devastating new report from the World Bank. The report, Mapping the Marshall Islands, containing grim visualisations of the impact of sea level rise on the Marshall Islands, has been two years in the making and was shared exclusively with the Guardian ahead of its release in coming weeks.

The Marshall Islands is a country in the north Pacific, halfway between Hawaii and Australia. It has a population of 59,000 and a land mass of just 180sq km, consisting of 1,156 individual islands. It is one of the countries considered most at risk of disappearing due to sea level rise.

Artessa Saldivar-Sali, the World Bank disaster risk management specialist who led the work on the report, said the modelling shows the Marshall Islands could lose significant and crucial parts of its land and infrastructure. “With a 1-metre sea level rise, we project that about 40% of buildings in the capital, Majuro, would be permanently inundated, permanently flooded. So that is a quite big impact,” she said.