Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands, Pacific: Drought Response 2022 - Operation Update Report, DREF Operation n° MDRMH002


Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

This Operation Update (OU) report will institute the following changes brought to this DREF operation.

a. Change of timeline from initial four (4) months to six (6) months.

b. End date of the implementation is extended to 31 August instead of the 30 June due to the accessibility of the affected neighboring islands with transportation there and back being unreliable.

c. Reallocation of international budget lines that were in the approved budget for international procurement, logistics service fees, and handling fees to support local Reverse Osmosis (RO) unit maintenance training and local procurement plus transportation of NFIs to the neighboring islands.


Description of the disaster

Located just north of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) comprises 1,200 islands, islets, and atolls with a land area of 180 square kilometres. Like most countries in the region, RMI faces increasing challenges from climate change and natural hazard-related disasters.

The US Drought Monitoring Report received through the RMI National Weather Service Office (WSO) dated 24 December 2021 indicated extreme drought for the Northern Marshall Islands. Weather Service Office Majuro and Weather Forecast Office Guam will continue to monitor conditions across the Northern Marshalls. According to the Drought Information Statement (DIS) issued on 6 January, some northern islands reported limited to no rain in the first week of January. Mostly dry conditions persisted across the Northern Marshall Islands. D1 (Moderate drought) was introduced for Wotje atoll based on insight from WSO Majuro and the United States Drought Monitoring (USDM) and US-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) team. Atolls near and north of Wotje were facing similar drought outlooks. Weather Service Office Majuro and Weather Forecast Office Guam continued to monitor conditions across the northern Marshalls. A drought statement issued on 25 February 2022 can be found here.

Due to the continued dry conditions in the northern islands west of the Republic, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) activated the National Emergency Operations Committee (NEOC) in Majuro on 1 February 2022. The NEOC's purpose is to discuss further steps in response to the ongoing abnormally dry situation, which primarily affects RMI's northern and western islands.

The NEOC initially developed the Immediate Drought Response Plan in response to the critical conditions reported from 14 neighbouring islands/communities, including Aur, Ailuk, Jaluit, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Maloelap, Mejit, Wotho, Wotje, Mejjato/Ebadon, Utrok, Ujae, Namdrik, Jabot, Ailinglaplap and Namu. Therefore, the RMI Government released for general circulation the: "Immediate and Early Drought Response Plan for the Republic of the Marshall Islands".

Led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the WASH Cluster organized a meeting to initiate partner coordination. The first meeting was held in January to provide technical input to the Drought Response Plan. The second meeting was held on 16 February to review the plan with partners after the parliament endorsed the Drought Response Plan.