14 May 2013

Thousands affected by Marshall Islands drought

10:41 am on 14 May 2013

A Red Cross team has arrived in the Marshall Islands to help with a potential humanitarian crisis caused by drought and the failure of crops.

Last week a state of national disaster was declared in the country where some people are surviving on less than one litre of water a day.

The New Zealand Red Cross says assessments indicate up to 5000 people are severely affected by the drought and a further 11,000 people are affected by crop loss.

Operations manager Glenn Rose says the team is taking to the islands two portable desalination units which can turn a litre of salt water into a litre of drinking water every minute.

He says the Marshall Islands Government is arranging food deliveries by boat to outlying atolls.