Australian emergency drought assistance increased to the Marshall Islands

Media release

12 June 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia will fund transport of life-saving water and emergency food by sea and air, and repairs to existing desalination equipment, to respond to severe drought in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Senator Carr said the $385,000 commitment follows the announcement of $100,000 in emergency funding to the island nation on 6 May 2013, due to a request for assistance by the Government of the Marshall Islands.

"Australia committed to consider additional support and longer-term drought preparedness planning for the people of the Marshall Islands who are struggling due to the severe weather conditions," Senator Carr said.

"A full needs assessment and a joint donor action plan have determined that the nation is still in need of assistance.

"An estimated 6,300 people are experiencing severe drought conditions.

"Australia's support will help the Government of the Marshall Islands provide more drinking water and reduce the impact of the drought on the affected communities."

The Government of the Marshall Islands commissioned a full assessment mission to the affected islands that found the situation is severe, with drinking water supplies in some islands down to one gallon per family per day.

There are also food shortages due to damage to subsistence crops from the drought, which is expected to continue for at least a further two months.

The State of Emergency was upgraded to a State of Disaster on 8 May 2013 following initial findings from the assessment and the Marshall Islands government started shipping life-saving supplies of fresh water and food to the worst-affected islands.

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