Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Better information management key to overcoming Marshall Islands drought

By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com

Mr. Reginald White, Marshall Islands Met Services Director

2 July 2013 Nadi, Fiji - Better information management and coordination has been the key to overcoming the recent drought in Marshall Islands at the beginning of the year.
Former Chairman of the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) Reginald White said information management and coordination are the two key tools that enabled the Marshall Islands to overcome the recent drought.
Although the recent drought was not as severe those in 1992, 1997 and 1998, he said its impact was stronger due to the increase in population of the country over time.
More than 75% of the northern islands of Marshalls had low rainfall which affected crops, water and increased the likelihood of water borne disease such as diarrhea and pink eye.
It is estimated that it has cost more than cost USD$5 million to respond to the drought in the Marshall Islands, with White highlighting the quick response of donor partners; Australia, US, Japan and New Zealand.
White says information sharing between the Meteorological Agency and National Disaster Managers and Emergency has been important in responding to the drought.
"The Met Services provided advisories and warnings and emergency and disaster responders were able to coordinate and manage the information which make it easier for donor partners to step in with the much needed assistant," White said.
He stressed that involving the Met Services and Disaster Managers and emergency office is the way forward for the Pacific in addressing disaster and the impact of climate change on communities.
Meanwhile he said the situation of the drought in Marshall islands is improving now that rain is expected for this week and next week.
"However it will take time for the recovery of food crops and the water table since it has been mixed with salt. It would take another few months with more rainfall for conditions to get back to normal."

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