MAJURO, KWAJALEIN PICK UP PIECES AFTER FLOOD

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Citizens join with government workers to clean up

By Aenet Rowa MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe Online, January 1, 2009) – Destructive flooding, caused by a storm surge coupled with seasonal high tides, interrupted the traditional December holiday season.

Spirits undampened, the resilient Marshallese people joined Majuro's Public Works crews in clean-up brigades, moving tons of rocks and debris dumped by the tidal action.

Long before the Government declared a State of Emergency, churches and NGO's stepped-up efforts to provide food and shelter to 600 displaced by the flooding. It will take months to repair damaged homes.

Local businesses were determined to maximize recovery efforts in preparation for the scheduled JAL charter of Japanese tourists, making sure the Annual New Year's Eve Block Party in downtown Majuro was still "a go."

Farther north, at Roi-Namur, on Kwajalein Atoll, waves had rolled over the reefs, topping the sea walls and berms, contaminating water reserves. USAKA's Kwajalein Range Services reported road wash-outs, significant beach erosion, and some structural damage.

Outer atoll people, on many unprotected and isolated islets, face difficult times due to salt-water intrusion.

arshall Islands recently signed an agreement that allows the Government to access up to $ 50,000 from a United States-supported disaster relief fund, and more, with U.S. consent.

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