$50 million revamp for Marshall Island
A small atoll in the Marshall Islands, Ebeye, has launched a five year-long infrastructure revamp at the cost of $50 million.
The Marshall Islands atoll Ebeye has launched a five year-long infrastructure revamp at the cost of $US50 million.
$19 million will go towards fixing the sewerage and water system, which has not been properly worked on in four decades.
Ebeye has more than 10,000 people living on fewer than 80 acres of land. It is known as "the slum of the Pacific" due to its dense population and dilapitated infrastructure.
Our Marshall Island correspondent Giff Johnson explained the plan to Julie Cleaver.
GIFF JOHNSON: "The plan that's emerged for Ebeye Island, which is the island that supplies workers to the the US army's missile testing Reagan Kwajalein is several significant sized projects including a complete revamp of the fresh water and sewerage system. And then a bunch of smaller things, like improvements to sports courts, boat ramps, and various other facilities. And what's significant about it is that Ebeye has just had so much of it's infrastructure declining for so many years that it's pretty nice to see it getting a lot of attention now as this plan suggests.
JULIE CLEAVER: "So how is the project being funded?"
GJ: "Different sources, including heavily from the United States Government, but also Australia is kicking in a significant amount of funding for the water and sewer project along with the Asian Development Bank. Then there's a programme or plan for rebuilding houses, apartments and houses for people from Kwajalein Atoll who were relocated 50 years ago to make way for the missile testing at Kwajalein Atoll. They've been living in the same facilities into which they were put fifty years-ago. So there's a plan to relocate them temporarily and rebuild new housing facilities for them which is a big project. Another one is redoing the public elementary and middle school. And these are all multi-year and multi-million dollar efforts which will make things a lot better for the schools and the housing conditions, at least for the displaced people on the island.
JC: "So what are the conditions like at the moment for people living on Ebeye Island?"
GJ: "Mostly it's just crowded, it's a relatively small island. It's about a mile long and maybe 200 meters wide, maybe not even that. I think it's around 40 hectares of land with about 10,000 to 12,000 people on it. So pretty much the whole island is taken over by houses and stores and so on. So that's why over the years it's been called "the slum of the Pacific". But the projects that are coming up really should do a lot to improve power, water sewer - I mean the sewer problems go back so many years it's kind of embarrassing to think how many decades it hasn't worked.
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