20 Jul 2006

Classes cut on Ebeye in Marshall Islands because of power outages

6:35 pm on 20 July 2006

In the Marshall Islands, the vice principal of Ebeye School says classes are being cut short and pupils sent home because of power outages.

The small island's one remaining generator has only been able to provide power sporadically in four hour shifts for each side of the island.

Yesterday, it broke down altogether leaving 12 thousand people without power for more than 12 hours.

The school vice principal Theo Gaju says the power shortages are creating serious problems with people running out of water and many are travelling the three miles to the US army base on the neighbouring atoll of Kwajalein to do their laundry.

Mr Gaju says it's time the government called a state of emergency on the island.

"I think a state of emergency is an understatement. The majority of people here are pretty desperate but we just try to cope as much as possible. We depend so much on power, everything from office to schools to people's livlihoods, cooking, take a shower, use the toilet, all that stuff."

Vice Principal Theo Gaju.

The United States Army has offered to lend the island two small generators to keep the water and sewage services running.