World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN Arrives In Drought-Affected Marshall Islands

UN Disaster Assessment Team Arrives In Drought-Affected Marshall Islands

New York, May 10 2013 - A United Nations disaster assessment team has arrived in the Marshall Islands to help the Government respond to a severe drought affecting its northern islands, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Assessments are ongoing in the country, where a state of disaster was declared on 7 May, according to a report issued by the OCHA Regional Office for the Pacific.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said assessments from four atolls, with an estimated population of 1,500 people, found that most of the domestic water tanks were completely empty and water from wells was unsafe to drink due to bacterial contamination and high levels of salt.

Most of the installations for water purification and desalination were operating below capacity, he added.

In addition, food crops, which were mainly breadfruit and banana, were also reportedly “devastated” due to the drought.

“The lack of clean drinking water is of acute humanitarian concern, and children are particularly vulnerable,” said Mr. Laerke.

Two Government ships to the north-east and north-west of the Marshall Islands had begun transporting full water containers, hygiene kits and other relief items to nearly 600 families in the worst-affected communities.

“There is a high likelihood that drought conditions will remain through July,” Mr. Laerke stated. “It will take several months of normal rainfall for groundwater to be replenished and longer still for food crops to recover.”

The Government will receive an initial OCHA emergency cash grant of $50,000 to assist with the immediate response efforts.

For more details go to UN News Centre at


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: America, The Gated

How, in a global metropolis like New York, do you write about immigration as a problem to be solved? And yet immigration is a hot button issue among those fighting to break away from the unruly clump of starters in the race for Republican nominee. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: US Bomb Strikes Hospital In Kunduz

According to US military sources, “there may have been collateral damage” to the medical facility. “This incident is under investigation.” A statement issued by the office of the President Ashraf Ghani said that Army General John Campbell, chief of US-led forces in Afghanistan, apologised. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Fall Of Tony Abbott

The question was one of timing. The Coalition had been registering losses in poll after poll. The Abbott style hardly improved after a spill was forced on the party. Despite claiming that he would be ushering in a spring clean, he continued bypassing ministers and MPs... More>>



Pacific.Scoop: Smaller Pacific States Call For Coal Moratorium

PNG Loop: Leaders of the Pacific Smaller Island States have called on all nations – especially the advanced economies in the region – to rise to the challenge of climate change. They want to steer the world on a path where climate change is no longer a threat to earth. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news