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).
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.”