An emergency response vehicle and 208 water tanks have been provided to the Republic of the Marshall Islands this week as part of ongoing support to boost emergency response efforts in the small Pacific Island nation.
The timely gesture has been made possible through the European Union’s €19.37million Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project (BSRP), implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).
The President yesterday declared a disaster under the Compact of Free Association between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, as amended, due to ongoing severe drought.
The following syndromes have been flagged:
· Diarrhoea: Fiji, Palau, Tokelau, Wallis & Futuna
· Influenza-like Illness: American Samoa, New Caledonia
· Prolonged fever: American Samoa
GLOBAL HEALTH IMPACTS
• Severe drought and associated food insecurity, flooding, rains and temperature rises due to El Niño 2015-2016 are causing a wide range of health problems, including disease outbreaks, malnutrition and disruption of health services.
• El Niño 2015-2016 is affecting more than 60 million people, especially in Eastern and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) have signed a $200,000 grant agreement to help the country tackle the effects of a severe drought.
The grant was signed at a ceremony in ADB’s headquarters in Manila involving ADB Pacific Department Director General Xianbin Yao and ADB Executive Director Gaudencio Hernandez (on behalf of the Government of the Marshall Islands). The grant is sourced from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are given a tremendous opportunity to help the millions of people, families, and communities affected by one of the strongest El Niño episodes in history. Together, we must now act to prevent enormous suffering by supporting the national and international response to the immediate needs and indeed for longer-term resilience.
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Background and purpose
The impact of the 2015‒2016 El Niño weather phenomenon has been one of the most intense and widespread in the past one hundred years. The agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people around the globe is affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather. While the El Niño itself has passed its peak and is now declining, its impact is still growing. Harvests in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in other areas.
he ADB program in the Marshall Islands has provided loans, grants and technical assistance to grow the country’s economy and improve the lives of people, particularly the poor, women, children and other vulnerable groups.
ADB has been working with the Marshall Islands since 1990, providing loans, technical assistance, and grants amounting to over $125 million.
For the past year, islands across the Pacific have been coping with the impacts of changed El Niño weather patterns which have caused drought and a longer, more intense cyclone season. Strong early advocacy by the Pacific Humanitarian Team on the risks facing the region helped prompt national efforts to prepare for El Niño’s arrival.
From 1 January 2007 to 20 April 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 66 countries and territories.
42 countries are experiencing a first outbreak of Zika virus since 2015, with no previous evidence of circulation, and with ongoing transmission by mosquitos.
17 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission prior to 2015, with or without ongoing transmission or have reported an outbreak since 2015 that is now over.
Outbreak came to the attention of RMI Ministry of Health in late January, with report of a traveler who was ill in November after a 3 week stay in Majuro and later testing in Australia. 34 met case definition since expanded surveillance for Zika begun Jan 29. Two new possible cases in past 25 days and none in past week. Out of the 34 suspect cases:6 pregnant ladies, 1 pos PCR (index case), 1 neg PCR but positive Igm. 2 delivered (babies did not meet the microencephaly criteria). And 2 pregnant mothers are still waiting for Igm testing.
RMI Drought Immediate and Near Response Plan endorsed by Cabinet on 3rd March 2016.
Her Excellency President Dr. Hilda Heine has extended the RMI State of Drought Disaster on 6th April 2016
Response efforts coordinated through the National Emergency Operation Center.
Funding and Contributions
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Director’s Note and About Us
Training and capacity building for a future filled with clean water - PIGGAREP+ in Tonga
Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere spike
February heatwave brought Tonga’s hottest day on record
El Niño Update: El Niño weakens but sectoral impacts remain
Making climate change adaptation in Kiribati understandable to all
Pacific iCLIM project team meets for 2016
SPREP honoured by UNFCCC for ’Green’ side event
Republic of the Marshall Islands - The small island states of the Pacific are suffering from one of the worst El Niño phenomena on record, with a state of disaster already declared in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Drinking water is already compromised and there is likely to be serious damage to crops.
IOM is providing continued technical support to the government of the RMI during this emergency response through its ongoing USAID-funded Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response (“PREPARE”) program.
FOREWORD BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR
The Marshall Islands has kept the Zika virus at bay since the first confirmed case was documented at the beginning of February.
Read the full article on the Radio New Zealand International