Living on a tropical island might inspire a romantic vision in your mind of pristine beaches under crystal blue skies, but life for the inhabitants of Eyebe island is hard. Very hard. Belonging to the Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific ocean, Ebeye is just a tenth of a square mile in size; but it is home to approximately 15,000 people at any time as the population rises and falls – a population density greater than Manhattan.
Ebeye was once a small community, supporting itself through fishing. The turn of the 20th Century marked the horrific downturn for the indigenous inhabitants of the islands, the Marshallese. Occupied by the Germans in 1899 and then the Japanese after World War One, the United States took the island by force in 1944.
The nearby Kwajalein island was chosen as a support base for the 23 nuclear bombs which were detonated at Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll. The residents of Kwajalein were shipped to a small, planned community constructed on Ebeye island.
Since then the population has exploded as Marshallese from other island travel to Ebeye in the desperate hope of working menial jobs on Kwajalein. The rest subsist on aid from the United States government and struggle with even basic amenities like fresh water. As the climate catastrophe continues to worsen, the rising sea levels will someday force the remaining Marshallese from the home permanently.
Take care of yourselves today, everyone.
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