The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency because of a water shortage.
Tuvalu depends mostly on rain water with some islands having access to ground water. Since early 2011, all islands in the group have been suffering from lack of water due to the 'La Niña' effect, which has impacted the islands’ agriculture and daily water consumption (IFRC, 27 Sep 2011).
As the situation in Tokelau is also very serious, a joint New Zealand and United States operation is underway to provide emergency water supplies (Government of New Zealand, 5 Oct 2011 ).
Every time my Air Pacific flight approaches Tuvalu – an atoll nation consisting of nine inhabited islands – and I look through the window down at the narrow strips of land, my mind wanders back in time to the first Polynesian people who embarked on a long voyage more than 2,000 years ago. I don’t know what drove them to endure the hardship of traveling across the vast ocean, but I do know what stopped them once they reached the land that is now known as Tuvalu: fresh water.
15 July, 2013
Families on the remote Pacific island of Tokelau continued to have enough fresh water in the past year after a prolonged period of drought in the region, thanks to AusAID support.
The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project Plus (PACC+) program focuses on enhancing the ability of people to deal with the negative impacts of climate change such as continued droughts.
Last year, the Pacific country of Tuvalu experienced one of the worst droughts in its history. Schools and hospitals were forced to close their doors due to water shortages, and clean drinking water had to be flown in from overseas to meet the immediate needs of the people. Australia was a key player in the disaster response at that time, and one year on we are continuing to work with Tuvalu to address its long-term water challenges.
This report covers the period January to December 2011
• Emergency operations support was provided to all Pacific national societies in relation to a range of tsunami and cyclone warnings and disaster operations (drought, cyclone, earthquake, power supply rupture).
DISASTER EVENTS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC IN 2011
Asia and the Pacific continues to live up to its reputation as the world’s most natural-disaster-prone region. The International Disaster Database, EM-DAT, reports 89 natural-disaster events in the region in 2011. In terms of the number of events, China (14), Indonesia (6) and the Philippines (22) top the list. However, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand suffered the greatest number of lives lost.
A bipartisan delegation has seen firsthand how Australia supported Tuvalu through its recent water crisis and is continuing to help build resilience against the impacts of climate change.
The delegation, led by Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, comprises Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, Coalition MP Teresa Gambaro and Government MP Bernie Ripoll and also includes Australia's Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams.
Updated December 12, 2011 09:12:36
The Tuvalu Red Cross say while the country still has concerns about fresh water supplies, the start of the rainy season has helped ease water shortages.
Early this year Tuvalu ran out of fresh water, with the Australia and New Zealand defence forces having to provide desalination plants to ensure supplies. But the Secretary General of the Tuvalu Red Cross, Tatuau Pese says with the rain arriving most families now have supplies, and this along with improvements in water storage, means the threat has gone.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has dispatched emergency relief supplies to Tuvalu, following the water shortage crisis caused by recent droughts. The aid goods were delivered on 5 and 9 November. The first batch of emergency goods, repair parts for seawater desalination units, were procured by JICA and dispatched from Japan via Fiji. The second cargo arrived at Funafuti International Airport via New Zealand on 9 November. A handover ceremony was held at Vaiaku Lagi Hotel at 18:30 (local time) on the 9th.
Food crops in Tuvalu have been badly stressed by the prolonged drought and people will have to rely on imported food for many months.
That's the finding of a government mission to the outer islands to make sure water, health and food needs were being met.
The head of Tuvalu's national disaster committee, Pusinelli Laafai, says the mission also reported that despite some recent rain water storage systems were inadequate and needed urgent attention.
Presenter:Geraldine Coutts Speaker:Pusinelli Laafai, Tuvalu's national disaster committee
A conference in Sydney is to call on Australia to set up a program to provide sanctuary for so called "climate refugees" from the Pacific.
New Zealand already has a permanent program allowing Pacific Islanders access to their migration program.
Speaker:Professor Jane McAdam, Law faculty, University of New South Wales.
This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Tuvalu Red Cross Society with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has determined that extended external assistance is not required, and is therefore not seeking funding or other assistance from donors at this time. The current partners of Tuvalu Red Cross in the Pacific will support as required.
On Saturday, 5 November, Japan's emergency relief goods (Japanese-made spare parts for desalination units) will be transported from Auckland to Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu on a New Zealand military aircraft in cooperation with the Government of New Zealand. The Government of Japan had decided to provide the emergency relief goods to Tuvalu through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) following the severe water shortages caused by a long drought.
November 03, 2011 | Alice Thomas
Next month, the United Nations will hold a high-level ministerial meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugees Convention. For more than half a century, the Convention and its 1967 Protocol have provided protection to millions of vulnerable people fleeing conflict and persecution in their home countries.
Updated November 2, 2011 09:42:08
Countries recovering from desperate water shortages across the Pacific are begining to look at long term solutions to avoid future water crises.
In Tokelau and Cook Islands emergency declarations have been lifted and government's are looking at options such as permanent desalination plants.
But drinkable water and other aid is still being delivered to Tuvalu from Australia and New Zealand.
Speaker:Peter Mueller, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Pacific
The United Kingdom, together with Australia and the United States of America, has announced funding for a new desalination system to relieve the effects of drought in Tuvalu.
The system, which will run on solar power, is expected to be in place by mid November and will produce 40,000 litres of water per day. It has been designed to meet short-term water requirements over the coming months but will also provide a sustainable, long-term solution for a country which has experienced severe drought consistently over the past three years.
Australia is providing more water to the people of Tuvalu following a severe drought on the Pacific island.
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles announced that Australia and New Zealand today delivered a shipment of 450,000 litres of water to Tuvalu's main island of Funafuti.
'This much-needed water will fill government storage facilities and enable households to access more water in Tuvalu,' Mr Marles said.
This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Tuvalu Red Cross with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has determined that extended external assistance is not required, and is therefore not seeking funding or other assistance from donors at this time. The current partners of Tuvalu Red Cross in the Pacific will support as required.
Updated October 27, 2011 09:19:53
There's been drought breaking rain in Tokelau .... so much that they've ended their state of emergency imposed because of the severe water shortage.
A new campaign will be launched in the islands to try to get people to permantly reduce their water use.
Speaker:Joe Suveinakama, Apia-based administrator for the Tokelau government
Listen: Windows Media
Tiny nation is suffering from severe La Niña pattern but its problems run deeper with the risk of being swallowed whole by the Pacific Ocean
Toby Manhire in Funafuti, Tuvalu
guardian.co.uk, Monday 17 October 2011 14.59 EDT
A light, taunting shower of rain fell in Funafuti recently. It lasted minutes, with the slightest film of moisture quickly burned away by the bright sun, dashing the hopes of this crowded, parched atoll.
UNICEF in New Zealand is sending a solar powered desalination plant to Tuvalu.
It's to help provide fresh drinking water to a school which was threatened with closure because of the drought crisis in the country.
The unit can produce six thousand litres of fresh water a day from seawater, and will also supply a health clinic in the capital, Funafuti.
Presenter: Bruce Hill Speaker: Hamish Lindsay, UNICEF New Zealand
Listen: Windows Media