Tuvalu

Tuvalu: Drought - Information Bulletin n° 1

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Situation Report
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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.

The situation

Tuvalu, a country of nine islands north of Fiji has a population of about 10,000 people with almost 50 per cent living on Funafuti, which is the capital island. The country depends mostly on rain water with some islands having access to ground water. Since early this year, all islands in the group have been suffering from lack of water due to the LaNina effect, which has impacted the islands’ agriculture and daily water consumption.

Nukulaelae, an island south of Funafuti has reported that the island is very low on fresh drinking water and has requested the government for assistance.

Below are some statistics of Nukulaelae from the Island Council report submitted to the NDMO (national disaster management office):

• Population: 358.

• 90 per cent of population is being rationed with 40 litres per family per day.

• Number of water tanks: 190; number of plastic water tanks: 108; number of water cistern: 7; Number of damaged water cisterns: 6; Number of emptied water tanks: 80.

• Total amount of water remaining in tanks and cisterns: 127,833.17 litres (including reserves with Island Council Cisterns and tanks: 57,194.56 litres) for drinking and cooking.

• Well water is a bit salty and is used only for bathing and washing. Animals cannot drink from it also.

• The island nurse on 21 st September reported that four children and three adults are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting.

• One qualified island nurse.

Tuvalu government has three desalination plants. One is in used in Funafuti, one in Nanumaga (an island in the north) and one in Motufoua High School in Vaitupu. The usage of the two desalination plants in Funafuti and Nanumaga are already overstretched due to existing water shortage. It is planned that if a desalination plant is needed in Nukulaelae, the desalination unit at the school will be mobilized to Nukulaelae.

Availability of water seems to be critical which is impacting the local crops (giant taro, bread fruits and coconuts). Main resources in the island are fishery and farming.