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Marshall Islands calls for regional climate leadership

Friday June 28, 2013 - 18:19 EST

Marshall Islands officials say it could be years before the water table and food crops recover in the islands' drought-affected north.

Tony de Brum, assistant minister to the Marshalls president, has told Radio Australia's he is nearly 70 years old and does not remember a season like the current one.

"The elders tell us that there have been droughts like this before, but I don't think anybody has ever seen it where it's it's so wet," he said.

"The problem here has been with the flooding from the swells that have come in from the south.

"So we have a situation with extremely dry drought up north, and extremely wet floods down south. Very weird weather."

Northern communities have been receiving water and food after a long drought which has resulted in salinity affecting potable water.

But in the south of the islands, seasonal rains are heavier then usual, and have been buffeted by a wave storm this week.

A state of emergency remains for the northern atolls.

The government is now calling for a "Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership" ahead of September's Pacific Islands Forum to be hosted by the Marshall Islands.

The Red Cross has begun rolling out reverse osmosis system (water purification) to turn salt water to drinkable water.

The aid agency says more needs to be done and has launched an appeal to help people in the Marshall Islands affected by drought and flood.

The International Federation of Red Cross will be accepting donations on its website.


© ABC 2013

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