4 Oct 2011

Tuvalu drought likely to cause food shortage

11:59 am on 4 October 2011

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister says a critical shortage of water in Tuvalu is having a severe impact on crops, with a likelihood of a food shortage occurring.

The Defence Force has flown two desalination units, water containers, Foreign Affairs staff and Red Cross workers to Tuvalu, where there's a state of emergency due to the lack of water.

The Minister, Murray McCully says New Zealand may be required to provide more aid to Tuvalu as the drought continues.

"I would expect that we're going to be dealing with the situation in Tuvalu for a little while. That's clearly quite critical unless there's some rainfall. Tokelau as I say has now declared a State of Emergency and there are some other parts of the region that are reporting a few shortages of water. We may be called upon to help in some other places."

Murray McCully says New Zealand is prioritising its aid programmes in the Pacific.