Marshall Islands drought puts thousands at risk - IOM

by Thin Lei Win | @thinink | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 8 May 2013 09:40 GMT

IOM worker filling collapsible water jars donated by USAID for outer islands affected by drought. Credit: IOM

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Government declares state of emergency in its northern islands, where 3,200 people are at risk of food insecurity and families are living on a few litres of water per day

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Unusually low rainfall since February in one of the world’s most remote ocean communities is putting thousands of lives at risk, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with a population of some 52,000 people, declared a state of emergency on April 19 in its northern islands, midway between Hawaii and Australia.

“The inhabitants of remote northern atolls, some 3,200 people, are at risk. Food security is a major concern, as crops, plants and trees have been damaged,” IOM said in a statement Tuesday.

During drought assessments, IOM, local and U.S. government officials found some families living on a gallon (3.8 litres) of water a day. That amount is “barely half of the international standard for emergency water requirements, and often the precursor to serious health conditions,” said IOM.

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