26 Sep 2016

Kiribati suffering from dry spell

3:32 pm on 26 September 2016

Water supplies on Kiribati's main island, Tarawa, are struggling as a long-lasting dry spell continues with no end in sight.

no caption. taken by VSA volunteer on Tarawa

Kiribati has been experiencing a dry spell for months and it may last for many more. Photo: Shifani Sood

The executive director of the Catholic aid agency Caritas, Julianne Hickey, who is on Tarawa, says the country is currently very dry as conditions oscillate towards a possible La Niña.

She said the dry spell is affecting water supplies, with many water storage tanks and wells either drying up or becoming contaminated.

"I heard it very clearly when I went into one of the small villages and they said to me, 'this well that we have here, at the moment it is the only well in the village that has water that we can drink.' But if the dry weather continues - and I've heard this across South Tarawa - it has been very dry for the last few months and they think it might continue for a number more months."

Ms Hickey said locals are currently rationing their water supplies to get by, but things are likely to get worse if conditions continue to deteriorate.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs