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Kiribati

Surrounded by water but in severe drought

Kiribati students continue to go to school despite a drought gripping the nation.

A teacher on Tarawa Atoll revealed that most schools have their own water tanks and have sufficient water for the students which is often refilled by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) once tanks are empty.

Due to this, education in the Tarawa Atoll has carried on without any disruptions.

Kiribati has high water tables and the majority of the households have water wells, which they use for bathing and washing.

Each community has PUB stations, where citizens take their water from their wells to be processed and made safe for drinking.

A Kiribati woman getting water from a well. Picture SPREP

The PUB has its own set of water wells in which they source their untreated water, and have it processed and delivered to schools and members of the community.

In the past few weeks, the Tarawa Atoll has been experiencing moderate showers, where rain falls at least twice a week.

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However, the recent drought has led the Kiribati Government to declare a state of disaster because of the drought.

Droughts occur very often in Kiribati, and the people have become resilient and accustomed to weathering such climates.

Kiribati students washing their hands, practicing health and hygiene. Picture UNICEF

In response, the International communities responded with Australia being the first to provide 100 solar distillation units to Kiribati.

The New Zealand Government is committed to repairing critical infrastructure and working with the Kiribati Government with any required support additional.

The Government of the United States of America through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) provided $500,000 in humanitarian assistance.

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