Australia is helping improve access to fresh, safe drinking water for every household on Ebeye, one of the major islands in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, said Australian-supplied water tanks were part of a continuing commitment to improve water and sanitation in the Marshall Islands.
"This year, Australia is supporting the provision of 220 water tanks on Ebeye, in addition to 150 water tanks supplied last year," Mr Marles said.
"That means all 12,000 Marshallese on Ebeye will soon have the capacity to store fresh, safe drinking water," Mr Marles said.
Lack of fresh drinking water is a problem felt across the Marshall Islands and causes significant health problems.
In the past decade there have been alarming increases in the reported cases of gastroenteritis on the main islands of Majuro and Ebeye, as well as an outbreak of typhoid on Majuro in 2006 and more than 2,000 reported cases of pink eye in 2008.
A 2010 survey revealed nearly half the homes on Majuro and Ebeye did not have suitable household water storage and more than half of all households had run out of water in the previous 12 months.
"Australia is also helping to develop a water policy which will improve water management, reduce the risk of water-borne diseases, and help control mosquito habitats," Mr Marles said.
Australia’s commitment to improve water and sanitation is a key component of the Australia-Republic of the Marshall Islands Partnership for Development, signed in 2010.
- Parliamentary Secretary's Office: (02) 6277 4330
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555
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