SUVA—The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati due to below normal rainfall, exacerbated by the ongoing impacts of climate change. So far this year, some areas have recorded less than 2.3 inches of rainfall total. The resulting drought has affected all 123,000 people residing in Kiribati, including 94,000 people in the severely impacted Gilbert Islands, which is heavily dependent on rainwater harvesting.
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Rebecca Owen said, “The United States stands with our friends and partners in Kiribati as they tackle this challenge, and we have allocated US$500,000 to support drought response efforts in Kiribati.”
This funding includes an initial US$100,000 to allow USAID partner United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to immediately strengthen the capacity of the government to monitor groundwater, including the salinity levels, and provide critical water conservation and treatment messaging to affected populations. U.S. officials in the Pacific and Washington, D.C. are closely monitoring humanitarian impacts of this drought in coordination with partners throughout the region. The United States stands with communities in Kiribati as they continue to face the impacts of this drought.
USAID has long supported early recovery, risk reduction, and resilience initiatives throughout the Pacific, including in Kiribati, to support disaster preparedness and response capacities. In Kiribati, this includes efforts to mobilize youth and volunteers in disaster preparedness through the Kiribati Red Cross Society (KRCS) and capacity building for the KRCS through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. USAID will continue to work with partners year-round to equip communities to withstand disasters.