26 Feb 2016

Australia gives more funding to fight Pacific drought

1:50 pm on 26 February 2016
Villagers in PNG's Western Province gather around an empty market place normally filled with fresh produce.

Villagers in PNG's Western Province gather around an empty market place normally filled with fresh produce. Photo: RNZI/ Courtesy of Sally Lloyd

The Australian government has announced further grants to help the Pacific respond to the drought brought by El Nino weather conditions.

It gave US$6.5 million dollars last year and has just announced another US$359,000 dollars in additional support for the North Pacific.

The foreign minister Julie Bishop said the money will focus initially on the Marshall Islands where a state of emergency is in force.

She said almost 12,000 people there are affected by severe water shortages, which could lead to disease outbreaks and crop failures.

The Australian aid will go towards improving water storage, and providing desalination units and hygiene kits across the country.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs