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7 Jun, 2014 18:51

WWII coffins, skeletons, bombs washed up by rising seas on Marshall Islands

WWII coffins, skeletons, bombs washed up by rising seas on Marshall Islands

The skeletons of 26 Japanese soldiers who died during WWII have been washed up from their graves on the Marshal islands,said the country’s Foreign minister,as the nation is trying to battle rising sea levels endangering the Pacific archipelago’s existence

The skeletons have been found on Santo Island following high tides devastated the archipelago from February to April.

"There are coffins and dead people being washed away from graves. It's that serious," said the state’s foreign minister Tony de Brum on the sidelines of UN climate change talks in Germany’s Bonn on Friday.

"We had the exhumed skeletons sampled by the US Navy in Pearl Harbor (in Hawaii) and they helped identify where they are from, to assist in the repatriation efforts," de Brum said, adding that the soldiers are likely Japanese.

The sea rise overrunning parts of the country has also washed up military equipment and unexploded bombs.

The 70 000 people nation, which lies between Hawaii and Australia, housed a Japanese naval base during WWII. The island witnessed heavy fighting when the US occupied the islands in the 1940’s, bombing the archipelago and destroying the Japanese garrisons. The US military set up a base on the islands and conducted nuclear tests.

The Pacific low-lying states have urged the international community for action on the issue of the rapidly rising sea level that is posing an existential threat to the nations.

During environmental talks in Bonn, the Marshal Islands claimed that global warming was ruining crops and rising seas were overrunning parts of the islands. The nation’s 1,000-plus islands are only about two meters above sea level.

A recent report of the UN Environment Program found that sea levels in the Pacific were rising faster than in the rest of the world. It stated that from 1993 to 2009 the rise was 12 millimeters a year, which is almost four times the global average. Scientists are predicting that by the end of the century the sea levels will rise from one to two meters.