At the global level, we're trying to explain that the smallest change in sea levels will have a big impact on our islands
Hundreds of people in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) were forced from their homes this week by very large waves and storm surges combined with high tides.
The government declared a state of emergency and about 600 residents -- nearly 10 percent of the country's population of 60,000 -- are currently in shelters, churches or staying with other families following three major storms that have hit in the past two weeks.
Most of the Pacific Ocean country is very close to sea level. Two of the most populated cities, Majuro, the capital, and Ebeye are less than three feet above sea level. RMI includes 29 coral atolls and five low-lying islands between Hawaii and Australia in the central Pacific Ocean.
President Litokwa Tomeing said the flooding shows how vunerable the country is to the rising seas as a result global warming. "At the global level, we're trying to explain that the smallest change in sea levels will have a big impact on our islands," Deborah Manase, deputy director of the Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination told the AFP news agency.
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