26 Oct 2011

Tokelau lifts state of emergency as drought ends

6:42 pm on 26 October 2011

Tokelau has lifted a state of emergency after its first substantial rainfall in almost six months.

The prolonged drought came to a head in the last month with critical water shortages across Tokelau's three atolls.

New Zealand assistance saw three desalination plants sent to Tokelau, easing immediate concerns.

The Apia-based administrator for the Tokelau government, Joe Suveinakama, says while rainfall over the past few days is very welcome, the atolls must be prepared for future shortages.

"We continue to emphasise the efficient use of water and the management of reserves through the villages. While we're out of the situation (critical water shortage), we're still not entirely out of the water shortage issue."

Joe Suveinakama says the three atolls are beginning to implement a long-term approach towards efficient use of water.