5 Oct 2011

US to join NZ drought relief effort for Tokelau

6:21 pm on 5 October 2011

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says the water shortage in Tokelau is very serious and that's prompted a combined New Zealand/United States relief effort.

The three atolls are struggling with the impact of a drought which is also affecting nearby Tuvalu to which New Zealand flew aid earlier this week.

Mr McCully says an Air Force Hercules will tomorrow deliver 12 large water storage containers to American Samoa, where they'll be loaded onto a US Coastguard cutter, the Walnut, for delivery to Tokelau.

The minister says the Walnut has a onboard desalination plant which will be able to fill the tanks with up to 136,000 litres of water, considered to be enough in the short term.