9 Nov 2011

Survey finds significant stress on crops on Tuvalu outer islands after drought

2:47 pm on 9 November 2011

The head of Tuvalu's national disaster committee, Pusinelli Laafai, says a survey of the country's outer islands, completed last week, shows the situation is not critical on most atolls but there are major issues with water storage.

Tuvalu is now recovering after a prolonged severe drought required aid donors to fly in de-salination units.

The assessment mission, also mounted with international help, visited the outer islands to make sure water, health and food needs were being met.

Mr Laafai says the survey showed a lot of stress on crops and the islands' residents will be dependent on imports for some time.

"The crops and the agriculture, the assessment of the crops, a lot of stress on some islands and not much on the others - but four of the six islands surveyed were under heavy stress on the crops."

Mr Laafai says there has been rain over the past week but collection and storage systems are inadequate and improving this is the government's focus.