Ever since President Obama declared a drought in the Marshall Islands on June 14, 2013, international partners, including the U.S., have been working with the RMI government to make the Marshalls more resilient to drought. The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is doing a survey this week of the food situation on each atoll affected by drought. They are looking at the dietary diversity of food provided so far, the health of local crops, including trees, and our team is attending public meetings to see how the relief effort has been going. The team is led by Food Security Expert Adam Reinhart and includes the RMI’s Henry Capelle and Bart Deemer from the U.S. Embassy. Preliminary findings show that crops are recovering, but there is little income yet from copra or breadfruit due to smaller harvests. The team will make recommendations for the RMI to consider once the food security assessment is complete.
Meanwhile, On Wotho atoll local residents still rely on the reverse osmosis machine for water. The RMI government supply ship “Landrik” left Majuro on Tuesday, October 17 with 142 tons of food aid for 13 atolls including Aur, Maloelap, Wotje, Mejit, Ailuk, Likiep, Wotho, Mejatto, Ebadon, Ujae, Lae, Lib, and Namu. This is the final distribution for Aur, Majatto, Ebandon, Ujae, Lae, Lib and Namu. The team is also meeting with local mayors, visiting the Laura agricultural program and meeting with government officials in Majuro to continue the drought relief and resiliency plan.