4 Feb 2016

Marshall Islands state of emergency called

2:16 pm on 4 February 2016

The Marshall Islands has declared a state of emergency as authorities try deal with a severe drought that has gripped the country for months.

A young Majuro child carries fresh water in buckets to his house.

A young Majuro child carries fresh water in buckets to his house. Photo: Hilary Hosia

President Hilda Heine said the drought had put severe pressure of fresh water supplies on many atolls.

She said the government had stepped up efforts to improve drought-resilience, including increasing freshwater storage and installing reverse-osmosis units on some atolls.

Dr Heine said she declared the state of emergency on Tuesday and hoped it would help bring in international resources.

"We will be sharing our declaration with our donor partners and, of course, resources are what we need to be able to reach the people out there. So we hope we can get additional resources to help in the drought."