13 Oct 2011

Tokelau drought having significant impact on local food sources

7:46 am on 13 October 2011

There's growing pressure on food sources on the atolls of Tokelau after months of drought, with pigs being slaughtered because they cannot be fed.

The islands' immediate water problems have been eased with the delivery of desalinated water by a joint United State/New Zealand aid operation, but concerns for the food supply remain.

The New Zealand high commissioner to Samoa, Nick Hurley, who accompanied the US Coastguard vessel's water deliveries to the atolls, says the lack of water for livestock, fruit and vegetables is having a substantial impact.

"In terms of both their own health, in terms of access to water, but also to access to fruit and vegetables, given that the size of fruit that is maturing now is much smaller when it comes to breadfruit and coconut, and when it comes to vegetables they are now abandoning, even giving them water because they cannot afford to do that."