The island nation of Tuvalu, as well as Tokelau, a New Zealand territory, have each declared states of emergency as months without rain have threatened drinking water supplies.
Tuvalu, whose population of 10,000 relies on a combination of rainwater and desalinization, sent out an SOS this past week, saying that her desalinization system had broken down, and the entire island had only four or five days of water left.
New Zealand and Australia both responded, with New Zealand flying in two replacement desalinization units, while Australia sent emergency rehydration packs to the island's hospital along with thousands of liters of water that were distributed by the Red Cross.
Meanwhile, Tokelau's 1,500 residents were down to a week's supply of water when the US Coast Guard arrived on Friday with 36,000 liters. The extended drought has also aggravated saltwater encroachment inland, causing crops to wither and die. This latest predicament, combined with years of rising sea levels, has severely jeopardized the future of the islands and their residents.
In a recent address to the United Nations, Tuvalu's Prime Minister Willy Telavi appealed to fellow member countries, saying that without urgent action to address climate change, his island would not survive.
We thank New Zealand, Australia, the US Coast Guard, Red Cross and all others for your caring aid to Tuvalu and Tokelau. May we act swiftly in concerted actions to restore our harmony with nature for the safety of these fragile islands and the world.
In a December 2008 videoconference held in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the urgent state of island nations and urged a change in lifestyle to halt all climate change impacts.
Sources: France24, Telegraph, SMH.com, CNN.com, AJC.com