6 Dec 2013

Charity says drought in Tonga putting pressure on drinking water supplies

2:46 pm on 6 December 2013

A Catholic charity says a four-month drought in the Ha'apai island group in Tonga is putting stress on supplies of drinking water.

Caritas says it is urgently providing a mix of traditional water collection systems and commercial water tanks to ensure drinkable water for more than 2,400 people in five acutely affected villages.

The Director of the Tonga Meteorological Service, Ofa Fa'anunu, says it is typical for Tonga to experience a dry period during October and November.

But he says rainfall in the islands of Ha'apai and Tonga's main island Tongatapu has been 200 millimeters less than expected since September.

"The rainfall forecast for the next three months is for normal to above average rainfall for the whole of the Tonga group. So from a meteorological point of view, we, the Tonga Meteorological Service expect that rainfall will start to pick up as we go into the next three months."

Ofa Fa'anunu says at this stage he can not foresee any considerable rain in the affected areas over the next two weeks.