What is causing flooding in the Maldives: Monsoon, tidal wave, storm surge or El Niño?
The waves that hit several islands of the
Islands in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll have been hit badly according to reports from Minivan News.
There is some debate as to whether the waves are tidal waves or storm surges.
But Mohamed Hussein Shareef (Mundhu) criticised media reports of “tidal waves,” which he said were “complete exaggerations… these are clearly storm surges not tidal waves.”
“Storm surges regularly happen in the
at this time of year… they don’t cause much damage because they recede very quickly,” he added. Mal dives
However, a top official from National Meteorological Centre disputed the claim that the waves were part of storm surges.
A Meteorological Office forecaster has told Minivan News storm surges are not responsible for last week’s widespread flooding in the
, despite the government’s insistence they are to blame. Mal dives
“We don’t do oceanography here, be we don’t think it can be storm surges. Storm surges don’t last three of four days. They normally just last one day,” Met Office official, Ibrahim Waheed, told Minivan News on Saturday.
The assistant duty forecaster also said he did not know where the government had obtained the data it had used to confirm storm surges, as he was not aware of any oceanography facility in the Mal
There was a tropical storm in Bay of Bengal roughly the same time
A tidal surge triggered by a storm in the Bay of Bengal swept through coastal districts of
Bangladeshand on Tuesday, killing at least one fisherman and damaging hundreds of homes, officials said. Myanmar
Weather officials said the storm, with winds of up to 80 kph (50 mph), crossed the
Bangladeshcoast at dawn, heading east towards . Myanmar
Bangladeshwent on cyclone alert on Monday, with officials warning the storm in the Bay of Bengalcould trigger a tidal surge two metres high. Nearly 80,000 people were evacuated to cyclone shelters.
Reuters has also reported on the flooding in the Maldives.
Waves from an Indian Ocean storm surge swamped dozens of islands in the low-lying
on Tuesday, the government said. Mal dives
"It is an annual occurrence at this point of the monsoon. Storm surges are quite common, but it is unusual to have them to the extent we have had today," government spokesman Mohamed Shareef said by telephone from the
' capital, Male. Mal dives
"It is essentially a rise of the tide. The water came in at least 100 feet (30 metres) on some islands, and then receded in the evening ... It is the low-lying islands that have felt the impact."
There are reasons to believe that the waves that hit
The Jakarta Post has reports on high waves damaging coastal areas of
20th anniversary of 1987 tidal wave
What the media and the government have failed to emphasise is that this year is the 20th anniversary of a tidal wave hitting Male’ and some other islands. On 11-12 April 1987 tidal waves hit and flooded a large part of Male’ and caused damages to some 16 other islands.
There was an El Niño phenomenon in 1986-1987. El Niño conditions were prevailing in early 2007. Is it El Niño that caused tidal waves in April 1987 and is it the same phenomenon that is causing waves in the
Too early for conclusions
It is too early to jump into conclusions about the cause of the waves hitting the
The way the country is coping with the current onslaught of waves shows that we have not learned any lessons after the tsunami and that we are not prepared for such disasters.