Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Federated States of Micronesia confronts the effects of El Niño

Palikir, Pohnpei - Despite the recent Congressional action revoking the President’s Declaration of Emergency and a decree of emergency funding for severe drought conditions nationwide, there remains an urgent need to assess and mitigate the effects of El Nino in the Federated States of Micronesia. 

In response to this urgent need, the FSM National and State governments are collaborating and continuing their efforts to visit the outer islands to assess the impact of prolonged drought conditions. Upon completion of this assessment phase, the governments will know better how to help ensure that people living on the islands have adequate drinking water to carry them through this reduced rainfall period.  Thus far, the El Nino drought can best be characterized by prolonged periods of very dry conditions, punctuated occasionally by short periods of rain shower activity; however, the cumulative effects of these dry conditions are still cause for legitimate concern and continued vigilance.    

The Patrol Boat FSS MICRONESIA has visited Ngulu Atoll, the westernmost outer island in the federation located between Yap Island and the Republic of Palau, and is continuing its visit to the islands moving east from Yap to Eauripik and then further on to other outer islands of Yap.  Officials of the Yap State Government and the National Government are on board to make their joint assessments. The Yap State field trip vessel, HAPILMOHOL 1, departed Colonia, Yap on Wednesday, March 2nd, with over 300 cases of available bottled water in the local stores for the residents of four of the Yap Outer Islands whose supply of drinking water will not last beyond two weeks.  The field trip vessel, MS MICRONESIAN NAVIGATOR, had also departed Pohnpei on Saturday, March 5th, with about 4,000 cases of bottled water destined for the Western Islands in the Northwest region of Chuuk State as well as the Outer Islands of Yap.  The field trip vessel, MS CAROLINE VOYAGER, will depart Weno, Chuuk on Tuesday, March 8th, to the rest of the Northwest region of Chuuk State to distribute over 1,000 cases of bottled water for the residents of the islands and undertake assessment of water conditions.  On the recent voyage of the MS MICRONESIAN NAVIGATOR from Weno, Chuuk through the Mortlocks Islands and on to Pohnpei, the crew carried out spot check assessment of the water conditions on the islands there.

One of the patrol boats will carry assessors to Sapwuafik, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi, the southernmost island in Pohnpei State, to conduct similar assessments for the same purpose.

Following these assessment missions, the Office of Environment and Emergency Management of the FSM Government will follow through with any required additional aid to ensure the welfare and safety of people residing on all affected islands of the federation.

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