21 May 2015

Clean water priority for recovering Kiribati islands

8:15 am on 21 May 2015

A Kiribati National Disaster manager says the top priority for the islands still recovering from cyclone Pam is ensuring greater access to clean water.

Tides of more than 2.9 metres flooded low-lying Kiribati islands at the end of February, with cylone Pam exacerbating problems, particularly on the south islands.

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Photo: AFP / SPC

The Kiribati National Disaster Manager, Michael Foon, says immediately following the damage, water tanks were taken to the islands, with Tamana and Arorae most affected.

He says cabinet has just approved the next phase of long-term recovery work.

"Since the last response, there's been a lot of rain, and that sort of assists getting people easier access to portable water. However, there are long-term recovery activities that are planned at the moment. We are working with the Australian High Commission here on Tarawa to deliver a few more rain water tanks to Tamana and Arorae, and that involves the means to harvest rain water."

Michael Foon says the work will also include creating or fixing existing water systems, and piping the water to communities.