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Japanese WWII soldier graves washed away by rising sea levels

Skeletons Wash Ashore On Marshall Islands

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

BONN, Germany, June 6 (Reuters) - Rising sea levels have washed the remains of at least 26 Japanese World War Two soldiers from their graves on a low-lying Pacific archipelago, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands said on Friday.

"There are coffins and dead people being washed away from graves. It's that serious," Tony de Brum told reporters on the sidelines of U.N. climate change talks in Germany.

Putting the blame on climate change, which threatens the existence of the islands that are only 2 meters (6 ft) above sea level at their highest, de Brum said: "Even the dead are affected."

Twenty-six skeletons have been found on Santo Island after high tides battered the archipelago from February to April, he said, adding that more may be found. Unexploded bombs and other military equipment have also washed up in recent months.

"We think they are Japanese soldiers," de Brum said.

"We had the exhumed skeletons sampled by the U.S. Navy in Pearl Harbor (in Hawaii) and they helped identify where they are from, to assist in the repatriation efforts."

Climate scientists say global warming has raised average world sea levels by about 19 cms (8 inches) in the past century, aggravating the impact of storm surges and tides. Glaciers and ice caps are melting and water also expands as it warms.

A U.N. Study on Thursday said changes in Pacific winds and currents meant sea levels in the region had risen faster than the world average since the 1990s.

He said that many of the 170 nations meeting in Bonn were slowly understanding the extent of threats faced by island states. Rising tides wash salt water onto the land, often ruining vegetation and crops such as breadfruit and coconuts.

"We think they are (getting the message) but not quickly enough to climate-poof some of our more vulnerable communities," de Brum said. Measures include raising homes on stilts, rebuilding roads and docks, and even abandoning some atolls. (Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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hokanut June 08 2014 at 6:22 PM

Ocean levels have risen 8 inches over the last 100 years. These islands sit only 6 feet above sea level at it's highest point. Weather changes over millenia. I live in a desert 1200 ft. above sea level with seashells in my sandy soil. That didn't happen due to humans. It's the natural ebb and flow. Liberals are the ones who need to look at the facts and history. But then all of their agendas would make them look mistaken and they can never have that.

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18 replies
supermolar June 08 2014 at 6:10 PM

what's the problem? They can all come here when their country is underwater. Welfare, food stamps and free medical care. Pretty good deal.

Flag Reply +95 rate up
17 replies
mouse June 08 2014 at 5:59 PM

Climate change, if it is natural, takes thousands [minor] or millions [major] of years to accomplish. It took us about 2 hundred years. Most of that after the industrial revolution. If you doubt it please don't have children, the world has plenty of not very intelligent beings now, we don't need more being bred.

Flag Reply +73 rate up
25 replies
jbarker449 June 08 2014 at 5:47 PM

Because water seeks its level always. Why isn't it doing the same thing to Miami and the rest of the land that is coastal.

Flag Reply +58 rate up
37 replies
RAMtronics June 08 2014 at 5:30 PM

Horse cockie.

Flag Reply +41 rate up
3 replies
brehas2 June 08 2014 at 5:58 PM

Faceleft: Good. They must learn never to attack another country. We should have dropped the Bomb on the Islamic terrorists and we wouldn't have any terror today.

Flag Reply +38 rate up
8 replies
Franco June 08 2014 at 6:40 PM

26 graves affected from rising sea tides? Okay kids, sixty million dieeded in that war! If 52 graves would have been effected, IT IS STILL MINISCULE IN THE SCOPE OF THINGS!

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4 replies
wergtlnbrgrs June 08 2014 at 5:47 PM

That's what happens when you sneak attack a country and lose a war ...Its called Karma ...

Flag Reply +29 rate up
6 replies
houking June 08 2014 at 6:29 PM

Actually in Florida there is more flooding now and a prediction of much of South Florida being especially vulnerable to constant flooding and inundation by 2060. To the doubter who wonders why we aren't hearing anything about flooding in Florida. Read it and believe, brother! It's only a matter of time.

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14 replies
Aye,Captain Bill June 09 2014 at 5:08 AM

Looks like some of these people only get their information from Fox news.


Listen to our own scientists rather than Sarah Palin.

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1 reply
vspinnet Aye,Captain Bill June 09 2014 at 5:21 AM

Yes, unfortunately. It's easier to be angry about something you heard on TV than to consult experts on the subject. Once a mind is set, I imagine it's hard to convince otherwise..

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