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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.

RMI faces numerous development challenges with geographical, social and economic factors contributing to high levels of vulnerability, and climate change is expected to exacerbate existing challenges. Current progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been made in addressing water issues and education and awareness on DRR. Under the Compacts of Free Association (COFA) between the U.S. Government and the Government of RMI, USAID provides supplementary assistance to disaster management and reconstruction efforts for these independent nations.

In February of 2016, RMI declared a state of emergency due to severe drought brought by El Nino. The disaster declaration was made by the Marshallese President on 01 April 2016 and made a request to the President of United States which allows the US to provide support to the archipelago. The declaration was made after a collection of atoll islands received just a quarter of its usual rainfall during the November to February period. During the response USIAD and IOM provided technical support to the Government. The national cluster system was activated to support the overall coordination and response in water and sanitation, food security, agriculture, health and logistics. Previous emergencies included a king tides in early 2014 which inundated Majuro and a prolonged drought in May 2013 in which also provide surge support through UNDAC, information management and emergency cash grant and CERF to assist government response.

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of RMI is response for the overall coordination and implementation of the country’s disaster and humanitarian work.