Island Nation's Water to Run Out in Days

Australia, New Zealand join forces to help Tuvalu
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 7, 2011 8:28 AM CDT
Pristine waters surround Tepuka Islet on Funafuti Atoll in Tuvalu.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As a drought continues to ravage Tuvalu, only a few days' supply of fresh water remains on the tiny Pacific island nation—so Australia and New Zealand are bringing over a desalination plant. Air force planes from both countries are hauling the gear to rescue Tuvalu's residents, who face a state of emergency; water is being rationed in the capital, where residents are permitted just two buckets of water a day.

At just 10 square miles (it's the world's fourth-smallest nation) and peaking just 16 feet above sea level, Tuvalu is wrestling with the effects of climate change, Reuters reports. But "the large army desalination equipment ... will help ease the critical shortage and should provide a sufficient buffer if the dry period continues as expected," said New Zealand's foreign minister. The nearby Tokelau group of islands, whose population of 1,300 is also struggling through the drought, will also receive emergency supplies. (Read more Australia stories.)

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