30 May 2013

Persistent problems as Marshalls drought continues

3:39 pm on 30 May 2013

The drought in the Marshall Islands is being described as dire, as thousands of people are still affected.

The government's National Water Advisor, Tom Vance, says international help has allowed 17 water purifying units to be distributed throughout the atolls.

He says while the units are helping hydrate the population, this isn't helping with food.

Mr Vance says government officials visited people on Likiep island yesterday.

They have been suffering from health problems like diarrhoea and fevers as a result of the high salinity in the wells.

"Most of the breadfruit trees have died and the local food has decreased as a result of the drought. Also one of our islands, it's called Enewetak, that's the driest island, they've had such a problem with the drought that all of their local food crops have collapsed, and they've had an extreme problem trying to get any food into the island."

Tom Vance says New Zealand has offered assistance to deliver food to Enewetak, and two water makers have been put on Likiep island, producing 360 gallons of water a day.