Fears El Niño could hamper FSM's typhoon recovery

1:01 pm on 21 September 2015

The head of the International Organisation for Migration in Federated States of Micronesia says he fears a worsening El Niño could hamper the country's recovery from Typhoon Maysak.

Water tanks arriving on Fais in Federated States of Micronesia to help community recover from super typhoon Maysak and prepare for climate change in future

Water tanks arriving on Fais in Federated States of Micronesia to help community recover from super typhoon Maysak and prepare for climate change in future Photo: Rupeni Mario

The category five system tore through the states of Yap and Chuuk in March, killing five people, contaminating water supplies and wiping out crops.

Stuart Simpson says the IOM and the government has spent the past six months trying to restore crops on islands that bore a direct hit from Maysak, and these are only starting to produce food.

However, he says an El Niño that is predicted to be one of the worst in decades could bring a drought that will bring them back to step one, and they need to be prepared.

"And of course we're monitoring that very closely. We're working with the governments so, yeah, we're keeping a very close eye on that. That being a potentially slow onset disaster we need to be prepared before that actually becomes a real problem."

Mr Simpson says the recovery effort so far has been focussed on restoring crops and water supplies.

But he says US$10 million provided by the United States, Australia and New Zealand means the recovery process can now move to rebuilding damaged infrastructure.

However, he says that process will be incredibly difficult.

"Remember these are very remote islands over a large area. So, the main obstacle is the logistics. For all the materials you get, that's got to be procured in other places, it has to be shipped here, it then comes to a staging point, then it has to go through secondary transportation - again via sea - out to the islands and all that."