As natural hazards continue to threaten the Pacific, Kiribati rises to the challenge

A low-lying atoll nation in the central Pacific Ocean, Kiribati has a population of just over 110,000 people. Below average rainfall since November 2016 has led to an ongoing drought across the country, with the southern island most severely affected.

The extended period of drought has depleted the supply of fresh water. This lack of fresh water has also been exacerbated by frequent storms, rising sea levels and coastal flooding, leaving wells and groundwater sources unusable. “Due to the frequency of these natural hazards and the changing weather patterns, we are becoming more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Michael Foon, a representative of the Office of the President of Kiribati.

Kiribati’s traditional dry season, or Aumaiaki, occurs between April and September, with the rainy season, or Aumeang, from October to March. However, due to changes in climate, the country has been experiencing extreme drought-like conditions even during the traditional rainy season.

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