Marshall Islands: Drought - May 2013
The Government declared a state of emergency for the northern Marshall Islands on 19 Apr 2013 due to a prolonged dry season and severe drought experienced in Wotje and the atolls north of Majuro. On 8 May, the state of emergency was elevated to a state of drought disaster for a period of 30 days. The severe drought conditions have damaged or destroyed agriculture on many islands of the northern atolls. In addition, deteriorating health is reported in many locations. Four clusters (Health, Food Security, Logistics and WASH) have been established and government cluster leads have prepared specific response plans with support from the UNDAC Team. (OCHA, 21 May 2013)
On 29 May, the Government issued an Intermediate Response Plan for the drought stricken northern atolls. The plan requires US$ 4.6 million for WASH, Health, Food and logistics needs for the 6,384 people affected.
On 7 Jun, the state of drought disaster was extended for an additional 30 days into early July (OCHA, 11 Jun 2013).
As of 30 Sep, the affected populations continued to recover from drought effects as normal seasonal rainfall remained ongoing (USAID, 30 Sep 2013).
Recurrent earthquakes, floods, typhoons, and volcanoes present significant challenges to vulnerable populations in the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) region. Some countries also face civil unrest and associated humanitarian impacts, as well as limited government capacity to respond to disasters. Between FY 2007 and FY 2016, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/ OFDA) and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/ FFP) provided humanitarian assistance in response to a diverse range of natural and complex emergencies in the region.
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.
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.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands has ratified an international treaty which enables the country to access a global gene pool of more than 1.6 million plants that belong to the most important food crops.
The Pacific Island nation has become the 132nd Contracting Party to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture through support from the treaty Secretariat, hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
There's been a huge drop in copra production in the Marshall Islands this year.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International
The Pacific region is frequently hit by natural calamities such as floods, earthquakes and cyclones. Pacific countries rank among the highest in casualties and people affected per inhabitant.
Promoting and enabling active participation of both women and men in training, planning and decision-making for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and emergency response is crucial for reducing vulnerability to natural calamities in the Pacific.
In this Issue
- Supporting Climate Change Adaptation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
- Mauritius: 20,000 Mangroves Strong: Planting Roots and Securing a More Resilient Future
- Cook Islands: Providing a Safe Haven - Climate Proofing Mangaia Harbour
- Marshall Islands: Protecting Drinking Water from Droughts and Sea Level Rise
- Transforming Nyabihu District in Rwanda
By the time the Government declared a state of emergency in 2013, the wells had long run dry in the drought-stricken northern reaches of the Marshall Islands, and families had started fleeing to the capital Majuro.
This idyllic paradise is set so low in the ocean that there are few freshwater reservoirs or sources of groundwater. The lack of rain since September 2012 led to a twin crisis of drinking water shortages and damaged crops.
Japan is to provide the Marshall Islands with another large grant for water-making equipment.
Read the full article on Radio New Zealand International
DG ECHO allocated EUR 150,000 to assist populations affected by drought in the Marshall Islands. The funding will contribute to the emergency appeal launched by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) of CHF 803,347 (ca. EUR 650,000) to assist over 3.000 people facing serious drinking water shortage and food insecurity.
The funding will be used to build an additional 117 water tanks, repair existing rain-water collection systems and provide hygiene promotion information.
September 4, 2013 – Majuro. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on the international community to pledge greater support for risk reduction programmes that help hazard-prone communities in the Marshall Islands to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Posted at 22:44 on 03 September, 2013 UTC
The New Zealand Government has announced a 3.9 million US dollar initiative to help five low-lying Pacific countries, which are vulnerable to water shortages, to better manage their fresh water resources. The money will be to assist Tuvalu, Tokelau, Kiribati, the Cook Islands and the Marshall Islands.
Read the full article on Radio New Zealand International
Joe Lowry in the northern Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands - It’s raining in Taroa Island; a warm, lush, tropical rain which feels more like a benediction than a penance. Washing away inequity. The sandy soil gurgles with pleasure, the roofs and water storage tanks thrum their applause.
In 2010 Oxfam visited Kiribati and Tuvalu to gather stories on climate change impacts in the Pacific. Next month all eyes will be turning to another low-lying country, the Marshall Islands, as they host the Pacific Island Forum.
Spread across two remote chains of coral atolls near the equator, the Marshallese are among the most vulnerable people on earth to the ravages of climate change.
New Zealand Red Cross aid worker Ana Zarkovic is heading to the Republic of the Marshall Islands for a six month mission to help the islanders recover from the recent drought.
The 31-year-old Auckland water engineer will work as an Early Recovery Delegate, helping drought affected communities recover by making use of rainwater harvesting systems.
“I understand the situation is not so critical now that some parts of the country have had rain, but I will be looking at existing rainwater collection systems such as gutters, roofs and tanks.
The response to a severe drought in the Marshall Islands is entering its second phase, as initial deliveries of emergency food supplies, principally funded by USAID, come to an end across the Pacific nation.
The first rains have finally arrived but food is in short supply on the hardest-hit outer islands. IOM’s rapidly-established air and sea bridges have delivered an estimated 45 metric tons (100,000 pounds) of food to 677 households on islands over 400 miles (640 km) from Majuro, one of the farthest-flung capitals on the planet.
(Suva:19 June 2013):
In response to the drought disaster in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, approved a rapid response grant of US$1 million yesterday. This grant, implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will assist the Government in its response efforts as outlined in the Government’s $4.7 million Immediate- and Near-term Drought Response Plan.
20 June 2013, BANGKOK –The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) yesterday issued a warning that a lack of safe drinking water is emerging as a major natural hazard for many small islands in the Pacific.
UNISDR Head for Asia-Pacific, Jerry Velazquez, said: “The worsening situation in the Republic of the Marshall Islands is a strong warning for the whole of the Pacific of the potential suffering that drought brings particularly as many islands in the Pacific have limited water supplies.”
The Marshall Islands government has denied there's drought-related social unrest in its northern atolls.
Some of the islands haven't had significant rain for a year and are relying on donated portable desalination units for drinking water.
Earlier this month, the National Water Advisor to the Marshall Islands government, Tom Vance, described the situation in the islands of Enewetak and Utrik as "dire" and said there was a lot of social tension.