Islands off of New Zealand issue state of emergency as droughts persist
Oct 6, 2011
Officials on the islands of Tokelau and Tuvalu, both New Zealand-administered territory, have recently declared states of emergency due to continued droughts, the BBC reports.
According to officials, the 1,400 people on Tokelau now have less than a week's worth of drinking water left - they have run out of fresh natural water and have been solely relying on bottled water to get by.
To combat the problem, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully recently sent an Air Force plane to Tuvalu to distribute clean water and desalination units.
Due to the water shortage, McCully said that there will most likely also be food security issues as many of the crops that islanders rely on have perished under the current strains.
"There are going to be some flow-on effects here, clearly this is having a severe impact on crops, so there's likely to be a food shortage as well," McCully told the publication.
David Hebblethwaite, a water conservation expert with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, reported that Tavalu hasn't had rainfall for seven months.
More planes with supplies are scheduled to be sent to the islands in upcoming days to aid those in need.