Obama declares Marshalls drought a disaster

1:36 pm on 29 April 2016
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

The United States president, Barack Obama, has declared the severe drought in the Marshall Islands a disaster, opening emergency federal funding.

The Marshalls' president, Hilda Heine, requested US help under the compact of free association between the two countries earlier this month.

Mr Obama's declaration will allow the Federal Emergency Management Office to provide emergency relief to the isolated island nation, which has been in the grip of a months-long drought.

Ms Heine declared a state of emergency in February as a result of this season's severe El Niño, which has seen many of the country's islands run low on fresh water supplies and crops.

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