Fri, Feb 02, 2018 - Page 5 News List

King tide driven by moon inundates Torres Strait island

The Guardian

Yam Island in the Torres Strait, Australia, has been inundated by a king tide, driven in part by the super blue blood moon on Wednesday night.

A video posted to Facebook shows water surging through homes in a social housing complex as residents plead for help.

People living at the complex in Mabuiag Point — known by locals as “the tin sheds” — say their homes are flooded every year, but repeated pleas for assistance have not been answered.

“See what we have to put up with every year? It’s crap,” resident Latisha Gaiden said in the video. “Can you see what’s happening? Can somebody help? We need help. This is unbelievable.”

The homes are built next to mangroves on the island and sea-level projections forecast the area will be consistently underwater in coming decades.

The tide on Yam Island, which is part of Queensland, peaked just after midday on Wednesday at 3.84m.

Yesterday’s peak was forecast to be even higher — at 3.87m.

Yam Island lies in the Torres Strait, about 100km north of Cape York Peninsula. Low-lying, and just 2km2 it is home to about 300 people.

Other nearby islands have also been hit by king tides this week, exacerbated by torrential rain and strong swells.

A sea wall built on Saibai Island, near Papua New Guinea, that cost A$24.5 million (US$19.6 million) largely succeeded in holding back the waves of a storm surge, although one valve in the wall popped open, allowing water in. One house on the island was inundated.

A tide of 4.5m was recorded at Boigu Island, while, on Horn Island, a jetty was submerged and a fishing trawler was swept away before being washed ashore.

The Australian Department of the Environment has flagged the Torres Strait Islands as some of the places most vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change.

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