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Fiji Time: 9:39 AM on Thursday 18 September

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'Serious' on Tuvalu

Timoci Vula
Thursday, October 06, 2011

A DETAILED joint assessment of water supply in Funafuti, Funafuti being also the name of the capital which is on the island of the same name, and Nukulaelae islands in Tuvalu last month indicated serious water shortages given the capacity of operable desalination units.

This assessment called for the declaration of a state of emergency last Wednesday (September 28) because of the continuing drought conditions, critically low community water supplies, and desalination units that were in need of repair.

In a situation report released on Tuesday from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Pacific, it noted that the mot affected islands were Funafuti, Nukulaelae and Nanumaga.

The capital Funafuti has an estimated population of 5222, an estimated 330 people live on Nukulaelae and an estimated 590 live on the atoll of Nanumaga which is to the northwest of Funafuti.

"For the remaining outer islands, initial reports suggest the situation is not critical however, more information is required," the situation update stated.

"Earlier today (Tuesday), the NDC (National Disaster Committee) acknowledged the water situation for Funafuti will be critical in six days if there is no rainfall, and the situation in Nukulaelae is even worse," the report stated.

The Tuvalu High Commission in Suva briefed the diplomatic corps on Tuesday on the situation and asked for their support to help Tuvalu find quick solutions.

Meanwhile, independent campaigning organisation Greenpeace responded to an article in this newspaper saying it had the people of Tuvalu in its thoughts.

Greenpeace media adviser Josephine Prasad said climate change was a heartbreaking, urgent reality for the people of Tuvalu who continued to suffer the ravages of an unprecedented drought across their nation.

"With international climate talks underway in Panama, there could not be a more pressing example as to why governments should cut their greenhouse gas emissions quickly," Ms Prasad said.

"Money and technology are also urgently needed to help small island developing States like Tuvalu adapt to climate impacts before it's too late," she said.


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