ISDR Warns Against Increasing Drought Risks in Pacific Islands

10 October 2011: Stressing the finite water resources of Pacific small island developing States (SIDS), the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) has stressed the need put in place comprehensive risk reduction measures to reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

Commenting on the severe drought affecting Tuvalu, Tokelau, Kiribati and the Cook Islands, UN/ISDR Head of Policy John Harding underscored the importance of providing support to SIDS to increase their storage capacities and sustainably manage their resources in the face of climate change and La Niña phenomena. He added that support should include assistance to communities that may be displaced due to freshwater supply shortage.

The UN Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) identified solar-powered desalination units and improved rain catchment and water storage as longer-term mitigation against future droughts.

In order to assess the extent of the situation, the Government of Tuvalu has begun a three-week nationwide needs assessment of water, agriculture and health facilities given the growing concerns about drought crises. [UN News Centre] [UNISDR Press Release]