19 Oct 2011

Overnight rain brings slight reprieve to drought-stricken Tuvalu

8:09 pm on 19 October 2011

A member of the New Zealand aid team in drought-troubled Tuvalu says overnight rain has provided a slight reprieve but the overall situation remains fragile.

Willy Morrell, a development manager with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says around 50 millimetres fell in a country that hasn't seen significant rain in months and declared a state of emergency last month.

Mr Morrell says the rain has helped reduce frustration within the community which has been on the brink of running out of water.

"Basically they've exhausted many of the government reserves.At one point the hospital had run out. And so they were having to reduce their hours. So the situation was fairly dire. We're predicting a few showers over the course of this week but the dry weather is set to continue for the next few months."

Willy Morrell says one of the government's water desalination units, producing 40,000 litres of water a day, is struggling to keep running and will need to be replaced in the very near future.