RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL
- Posted at 22:40 on 28 April, 2009 UTC
The shortage of drinking water in the Southern Islands in Kiribati is approaching disaster levels. President Anote Tong made the statement in parliament as MPs from the southern islands pressed the government to assist in this crisis before it becomes a major catastrophe. The MPs said some villages are about to abandon their homes because drinking water wells are becoming brackish, and in some cases water is unbearable to drink. They say villagers now have to travel long distances to fetch their drinking water.
On the south island of Nikunau, teachers, staff and their families gave the council an ultimatum: provide them with good drinking water, or they will abandon the school compound. President Tong explains the southern islands has had no rain for a long time, worsening the situation.
The Kiribati leader says government is currently assisting local councils on the southern islands, looking for good drinking water, and to bring it to affected villages. President Tong says the Government is also looking for ways and means to put the situation under control.
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