Distribution of drought emergency supplemental food to the outer islands starts this week, with the MV Kwajalein being loaded at Uliga Dock for a Thursday departure to 10 atolls and two single islands.
A total of 4,747 people living on remote islands will receive supplemental food supplies paid for by the US Agency for International Development (USAID):
• “Moderately” affected islands will receive 120 days worth of food assistance: Aur Atoll, Likiep Atoll, Ujae Atoll, Lae Atoll, Jabot island.
• “Severely” affected islands will receive 210 days worth of food assistance: Rearalaplap in Arno Atoll, Maloelap Atoll, Wotje Atoll, Mejit Island, Ailuk Atoll, Wotho Atoll, and Ebadon and Carlson Islands in Kwajalein Atoll.
“The supplemental food is meant to provide relief for what has been lost in the drought event that caused a decline in locally available foods and income generating methods,” said Angela Saunders, who heads the IOM office in Majuro, which is handling the current food distribution to the outer islands for USAID. “It is meant to get people through hard times and not disrupt local businesses as much as possible.” She said all of the food being shipped this week to the outer islands has been bought through local vendors. Supplemental food includes rice, low sodium mixed vegetable, mixed fruit no sugar added, and cooking oil.
Earlier this year, the RMI government requested the US Embassy to provide sector experts to work with the RMI Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and IOM to conduct a joint preliminary damage assessment of drought impacts on the outer islands. “After 10 intense days in the field, visiting 16 atolls/islands, it was determined that there has been widespread, yet varied and nuanced, crop damage across the nation with the worst affects taking place in the most northern atolls/islands,” said Saunders.
Read more about this in the July 1, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.