24 May 2013

Water-making units eases drought impact in Marshall Islands

8:36 am on 24 May 2013

The arrival of reverse osmosis water-making units has eased the impact of an ongoing drought in Marshall Islands.

The United States, Australia, Taiwan, Japan and the Asian Development Bank have all contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to relief efforts, and earlier this week reverse osmosis units began arriving on these isolated islands with populations from 100 to 600 people.

Red Cross officials from New Zealand and a Majuro Water and Sewer Company worker arrived on Ailuk Atoll earlier this week, and immediately set up two portable reverse osmosis units that were producing purified drinking water within hours of arrival.

Most of the northern of the islands in the country where about 5000 people live have received virtually no rain since late last year, and forecasts say rain won't return before July. These small islands depend on rain for their drinking water.

In early May, the Marshall Islands government declared a drought disaster on the northern islands, which has paved the way for increased donor support.