Pacific nation may exhaust water supply by Tuesday
The Pacific nation of Tuvalu is made up of a string of coral atolls and has few natural resources.
October 3rd, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Pacific nation may exhaust water supply by Tuesday

The small Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency because of a shortage of rain and says it may run out of water by Tuesday.

Tataua Pefe, the secretary-general of Tuvalu’s Red Cross, said that because of the lack of rainfall, residents would likely "be finishing up their rationed water," according to an interview with Radio Australia.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said his country was rushing to help as best it could, sending in defense force personnel to help with the crisis as well as delivering Red Cross supplies.

“Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency relating to water shortages in the capital, Funafuti, and a number of outer islands,” McCully said in a statement on the New Zealand Foreign Ministry site. “Two Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff on board, including our Wellington-based High Commissioner, will remain in Tuvalu to help assess needs on the ground."

Pefe said the situation has become dire after six or seven months without adequate or sustained rainfall.  He said that forecasts suggest that Tuvalu and other Pacific islands will not receive "decent" amounts of rain until perhaps December.

"We need emergency support," Pefe said.

Pefe said that residents should not drink well water because it may not be safe. Some animals that have been drinking well water suddenly died, he said.

Pefe said he and others were working to try to find long-term solutions to sustain the group of islands during the coming months. He said they will be relying on the help of other nations.

McCully said New Zealand will continue to work "with partners and other donors to consider the best medium-to-long-term response options.”

Tuvalu has a population of less than 11,000 and "consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil," according to the CIA's World Factbook. "The country has no known mineral resources and few exports and is almost entirely dependent upon imported food and fuel."

soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. jordan scene©

    On a side note good afternoon banasy, gung, bobcat, jif and all! ;)

    October 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. choppertrash

    Solar powered desalinization gear would be perfect for these islands...

    October 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Not very practical, at the moment, for 11 thousand people, however.

      October 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bigbuckool

    Again the words of Sam Kinison ring true. Move to where the food (or water in this case) is!!!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @sherman:
    I meant the well water. Thanks to Mr. Know It All, I have an answer.

    October 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I would assume they have fire...

    October 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. leeintulsa

    They need to call the culligan man..

    October 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tiberius

    What about the tech being used in the UAE turning sea water into fresh water. It's expensive but may be short term until the promised rains come

    October 3, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tiberius

    I see I didn't refresh in time to be a topic starter. I hope a solution maybe found for the animals and humans sake

    October 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. leeintulsa

    Lol. I would hope they've already tried that.. Do they know about desalinization?

    They live on atolls with no mineral resources? Few exports? Limited water.. How 'bout instead of water, we send them boats? Pack em up, make one trip.

    October 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I'm with leeintulsa–send one Exodus boat–or many ships bearing Evian.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Send a couple cruise ships...Gavin MacCleod would be exciting and new...

    October 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      No. He's a cult freak. He gave all his money years ago to one of those televangelists. I forget whether it was the embezzler or the one who paid h00kers.

      October 4, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I always remember my pilgrimage to the Galapagos Islands. I took an elective course in evolution in college. Darwin is one of my...uh...saints.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    No.
    Send de plane, de plane.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Yes! Tattoo! Even better!!

    October 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fernace

    I get the feeling desalination is gonna go through a radical technological breakthrough! It will become a necessesity for all of us eventually! This article makes me wonder about indigenous tribes who have little or no contact with the outside world! How are they faring in these times of drought? Maybe better than us, eh?

    October 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @fernace: Well, not these ones lol

      October 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Do some reading on North Sentinel Island. REALLY interesting.

      October 4, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
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