8 Nov 2007

Southern Kiribati atolls in grip of severe drought

2:45 pm on 8 November 2007

Thousands of people in Kiribati's southern atolls are suffering from a severe drought as the country is experiencing the dry La Nina weather pattern.

The Met Office says limited water storage on small islands means that domestic water supplies are severely threatened.

The head of Kiribati's met office, Moreti Tibiriano, says the southern atolls have not had rain for months.

"According to our records the last rain received for the Southern islands is during March this year. Most of the people on the Southern Islands are relying on well water only. I understand that's the biggest issue to the Southern Islands now is the water, most of the villages there is affected."

Moreti Tibiriano says a third of Kiribati's 107,000 population live in the southern atolls.