By Rolynda Jonathan
Local and international agencies are rushing to provide aid to drought stricken remote islands in the Marshalls following a rapid assessment of the impacts.
Thousands of residents in northern islands have been forced to ration water as most have run out of drinking water with ground well water unsafe to drink. Marshall Islands officials are calling the situation ‘dire’, health elevating the status from emergency to disaster. These areas greatly rely on rainwater, approved their only source of freshwater for consumption and other needs.
Most remote islands are equipped with reverse osmosis machines or RO’s, but RO’s in areas such as the Mejit Atoll were found out of order hindering water production. Mejit and other drought stricken islands were also found with major loss of crops and increasing number of gastritis-like illnesses.
RO units were repaired during the assessment, however parts and other equipments are required to prevent loss of water productivity.
The U.S. had dispatched large water containers and hygienic kits to help relieve residents. Australia is providing desalination units to increase water production.