Pacific nation declares state of emergency over water shortage

The tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency due to a severe shortage of fresh water, with officials saying on Monday that some parts of the country may only have a two-day supply.

New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully, said his country was working with the Red Cross to deliver aid workers and supplies as quickly as possible.

He said Tuvalu first declared the emergency last week and the situation had deteriorated since then.

Water was scarce in the capital, Funafuti, and a number of outlying islands, McCully said, adding that he had received reports some places would run out of fresh water within days.

A New Zealand defence service C-130 plane arrived on Monday carrying two desalination units and a number of water containers, McCully said.

Tuvalu a grouping of low-lying coral atolls that is home to about 11,000 people, is not the only Pacific island running out of fresh water after six months of low rainfall. Officials from Australia and New Zealand have said they are worried about other islands in the region, including Tokelau.

McCully said his government would work with aid agencies to try to figure out a long-term response to the situation.

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