14 May 2013

Call for better water catchments in the Marshall Islands

9:39 pm on 14 May 2013

There are calls for improved water catchments in the Marshall Islands with some atolls now facing a humanitarian crisis due to a prolonged drought.

A state of disaster has been declared in the north, with thousands of people affected from having virtually no rain for at least five months.

Some families are just surviving on less than 1 litre of water, per person, per day, with food crop staples, like taro and breadfruit, totally destroyed.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says it has been one of the driest periods on record for the north, and while solar and portable water desalination units being sent over is a good short term solution, much more needs to be done.

"It is easy enough to install this equipment but to maintain it over the months when it needs to produce water and its a real challenge on these remote isolated islands where you have salt air and humidity that affects the equipment and its a real challenge to keep it working. 21"

Giff Johnson says while the weather up north is expected to stay dry for at least another month, Majuro has been experiencing heavy downpours.