PHONE SERVICES TO TUVALU CUT BECAUSE OF FLOODING

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FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (February 21, 2000 – Radio Australia)---International telephone and other telecommunications services to Tuvalu have been cut and are expected to be out of order until the end of the month because of flooding.

Tuvalu's weather bureau earlier predicted unusually high spring tides for this past weekend of 3.2 meters (10.56 feet), saying it would result in the flooding of most of the capital area and many outlying islands.

Meteorologist Hillia VaVae accurately predicted that the Telecom office, the country’s only international airport and the weather office all would be partially flooded.

She said the country has been experiencing high spring tides more and more often ever since the 1980s, apparently as the result of the warming of the earth and rising sea levels.

Most communications with the tiny country of about 10,000, located between Fiji and Kiribati, have been cut off since the flooding occurred Saturday.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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