18 June 2013: Persistent low rainfall since January 2013 has caused a humanitarian crisis in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, limiting access to safe drinking water. An estimated 6,384 people have been affected and urgently need assistance.
Households have run out of water, the salinity levels in water drawn from underground wells are extremely unsafe, and agricultural production has been severely affected, resulting in a significant decrease in food supply. People are also suffering from gastritis, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and hepatitis.
These severe drought conditions have been reported in 23 atolls, including Aur, Maloelap, Wotje, Ailuk, Likiep, Mejit, Ujae, Lae, Wotho, Lib, Namu, Utirik, Enewetak, Ebadon and Mejiato.
To address this humanitarian crisis, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has provided a rapid response grant of US$1 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). With the allocation, IOM will improve access to safe drinking water, provide food assistance and address the health concerns. The allocation is expected to benefit all affected people.