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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Let them drink Evian.

    October 3, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Being Canadian, I was about to say "Let them drink beer", but...

      October 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. -.-

    Ha ha! Off with your head!

    October 3, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joaquin Vallarino

    You heartles "idiots", (first two comments)
    This is serious matter and human beings are in dire straits.
    Stupid ignorants!! Let's hope something even close never happen in your "wonder land country"

    October 3, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan

    Let's see – no water, poor soil, no resources, densely packed population of 11,000...

    They need relocated.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • yada

      You are so right, Dan. They DO need relocated. I can't understand why anyone would want to live there under such conditions. I hope they get the help they need. I was watching a show on T.V. a few months ago and several scientists were discussing the World's water supply is dwindling.

      October 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sree

    The first 2 comments are from complete retards!
    Hopefully, this is a one off case and don"t become a reality in other countries as predicted earlier by research scientists.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Atsa Lotta-Spaghetti

    I drink Evian at my gym after a great workout in my green tutu!

    October 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    You are going to hear more and more of these types of cases. A number of small Pacific Island nations and autonomous territories have been welfare cases for a while, and will suffer shortages of water, food, and other resources. This could also have happened to Nauru, Palau, or a number of others. Like North American or Australian natives, if they were continuing to live a traditional lifestyle, they might be fine. But in recent decades they have moved toward a modern lifestyle without the resources to support it.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ M. Lotta-Spaghetti:
    I also prefer Evian, but sometimes it's unavailable in parts of NYC.
    I would have suggested Poland Water, but I like to save that for special occasions: Vladimir Horowitz drank Poland Water almost exclusively, so it was good enough for him.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Katie

    This gives me pause.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u.

      Hit the resume button when you are ready to continue.

      October 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Bimbo the Birthday Clown:
    OK, but not Becks.
    C'est trop cher.
    I also considered relocation of these unfortunate humans.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat2u.

    "Water, water everywhere,
    And all the boards did shrink.
    Water, water everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink."

    "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    October 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ bobcat2u:
    I'd already heard that one.

    October 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Izzardfan

    Why not bring in desalinization equipment? Lots of sea water around.

    October 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      And what about the energy it takes to run the plant. If you are willing to donate a small nuclear reactor, I am sure they would be glad.

      October 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Water Boy

    Time to consider "desalination", and this includes the mainland US too...

    October 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat2u.

    Water is getting to be a hard to sustain commodity. All of our lives, we have taken this natural resource for granted, and even now when the danger of our using up this MOST important resource is blatantly obvious, people are still acting oblious to the fact. I've always been told throughout my life that major wars were going to be fought over oil. Well, yes I do belive this is going to happen, but the more urgent cause of these wars is going to be the depletion of fresh water availability.

    October 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u.

      correction : That word should have been oblivious

      October 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
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