king tides

High surges hit unsuspecting villages

Villagers from Laraibina, Madina and Fissoa - along the Boluminsky Highway - said the tides started surging at approximately 2:30am on January 22nd, 2024. 

Commonly known as “king tide”, these unusually high water levels are caused by the orbits and alignment of the Earth, moon and sun, and normally occur once or twice in a year. 

On mainland Kavieng, several homes, food gardens and water sources were destroyed, with debris strewn along the Boluminsky Highway; reminiscent of the 2009 devastation. 

Tides Continue In NIP

Those in the Tigak Islands, just outside of Kavieng reported ankle and shin-deep water flooding their homes and shelters.

The term king tide is commonly used to describe an especially high spring tide that occur a few times every year, when the gravitational pull of the sun and moon upon the earth is strongest.

Joanna Peter, from Leon in Djaul Island said the villages of Leon and Sununa in ward 17, Tikana LLG, the water has reached up to the shins of locals with at least one house destroyed by the rising sea.

Good weather mitigates king tide damage in Kiribati

Kiribati Climate Action Network's Pelenise Alofa said she's thankful there was no wind or storm surge to drive it over seawalls and into properties.

People on Tarawa and other islands have been working all week to build up seawalls in preparation for the inundation, Ms Alofa said.

However, not everyone can afford new cement to protect their properties, she said.

The KiriCAN national co-ordinator said she had been up all night preparing for the tide but will soon go out to check on others around Tarawa.

King tide hits Manus island

Local NGO Marine Environment Awareness and Response Team, headed by former WWF Marine Officer Selarn Kaluwin, confirmed that the tide increased by 0.1 metre compared to past events.

Kaluwin said the tide has gone down however, they are monitoring the situation after sea level reached about 5 to 20 metres onshore.

However, he said the impact didn’t affect gardens and homes however, villagers are on the lookout.

“We are looking at local approaches or knowledge in terms of adaptation measures.