Marshall Islands

Located just north of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is made up of 1,200 islands, islets and atolls with a land area of 180 km². The island group is spread in two formations, with the eastern group known as the Ratak 'Sunrise' chain and the western group known as the Ralik 'Sunset' chain.

The Marshall Islands has a low vulnerability to tsunami, earthquakes and landslides, a medium vulnerability to cyclones and droughts, and a high vulnerability to coastal flooding. Due to RMI’s isolation, transportation and logistics during emergency response is difficult.

Marshall Islanders are being warned to be on alert for what authorities warn could be the worst drought for more than a decade, lasting six to nine months, as El Niño sets in. For more information on El Niño in the Pacific visit: OCHA Pacific El Niño Hub

RMI declared a state of disaster in May 2013 due to a prolonged drought which impacted over 6,000 people. OCHA ROP provided surge support and mobilized a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to support information management and reporting. OCHA also provided a US$50,000 Emergency Cash Grant and coordinated a Central Emergency Response Fund grant of US$1 million for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to assist the Government in its response efforts.

In early March 2014, king tides inundated Majuro Atoll and some of the outer islands, with 1,730 people affected and 940 displaced. The inundation affected housing infrastructure and contaminated water supplies, agriculture and food crops. A State of Emergency was issued by Cabinet on 5 March. OCHA, IFRC and WHO provided technical expertise and assistance, with the US and Australia providing financial support.