Marshall Islands: Drought - Jan 2022


Disaster description

According to the Drought Information Statement (DIS) issued on 6 January, some Northern islands have reported limited to no rain in the first week of January. Mostly dry conditions have persisted across the Northern Marshall Islands. D1 (Moderate drought) was introduced for Wotje atoll based on insight from WSO Majuro and the USDM USAPI team. The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has activated the National Emergency Operations Committee (NEOC) in Majuro on 1 February 2022. The NEOC initially developed the Immediate Drought Response Plan in response to the critical conditions reported from 14 neighbouring islands/communities, including Aur, Ailuk, Jaluit, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Maloelap, Mejit, Wotho, Wotje, Mejjato/Ebadon, Utrok, Ujae, Namdrik, Jabot, Ailinglaplap and Namu.

Many islands have two to four weeks of water left if no rain falls. Rains are predicted to return around midto-late March based on all guidance, including long-range model output, and there are expectations for waning La Nina conditions in the next few months. It is anticipated that even if rain starts to fall now, for the most drought-affected atolls/islands, the current impact of the drought condition will continue for several months. It will take months for water sources to replenish, water quality to improve, and lost crops to be replanted and harvested. Droughts are especially damaging in the atolls lacking sufficient rainwater harvesting/storage capacity to withstand dry periods, as with most of the outer atolls of the dry north. (IFRC, 28 Feb 2022)

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