Friday, October 7, 2011

Australia, New Zealand in airlift to drought-hit Tuvalu

BBC: Australia and New Zealand are to airlift equipment to the Pacific nation of Tuvalu to help it deal with a severe water shortage caused by drought. Military planes from both countries will fly a large desalination unit to Tuvalu's main island of Funafuti.

New Zealand has already flown smaller units to Tuvalu but its foreign minister said more capacity was needed. Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency over the shortage, caused by the La Nina weather phenomenon.

It has not rained in the remote nation of about 11,000 people for more than six months, and there is no drinkable groundwater because rising seas have contaminated it. About half the population live on the main island of Funafuti, where water is being rationed.

"The advice is that more capacity is needed to relieve the acute water shortage and replenish stocks," New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said....

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