Skip to main content

Tuvalu: Drought - Aug 2021

Disaster types

Tuvalu is highly reliant on rainfall as the main source of fresh water. There are no rivers on the islands and groundwater is extremely limited ... Rainfall for the last three months in Tuvalu has been at the lowest 25 per cent in historical record, causing the regional Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Early Action Rainfall (EAR) Watch to place Tuvalu at ‘dry warning’ level. Despite the national EAR Watch’s climate outlook forecasting normal rainfall for the coming months, the likelihood of Tuvalu proceeding to serious or severely dry conditions remains high. Preparedness and early actions are advisable given past and future seasonal data. Tuvalu relies almost solely on rainwater for consumption, indicating that continued monitoring and data collection would be of high value, as the situation can deteriorate rapidly.

Tuvalu National Drought Committee (DC) was activated on 5 July, and agreed to meet weekly to provide updates on both thresholds (rainfall received and government water reserves). The Ministry of Public Works established seven water distribution points which have been operational since 12 July on Funafuti, where all households are able to collect six buckets of water (approximately 60 liters per household per day) ... Worthy to note, the 2011 drought resulted in widespread sickness due to a decrease in handwashing, low household water reserves that increased pathogen concentrations, and a switch to untreated or less hygienic water sources. As Tuvalu is in its dry season till October, there is an impressed need to consider the early actions that may be required, and the data needed to implement those early actions, in support of the most affected islands that may face water challenges. (IFRC, 24 Aug 2021)