A remote island in the Federated States of Micronesia has something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Finally, the community has additional access to safe and potable drinking water thanks to a European Union-funded project.
Around 500 people live in the small low-lying atoll of Kapingamarangi, one of the most remote areas in the Pacific. The island has no airstrip and is serviced by a government ship just several times a year, according to a release from the Pacific Community (SPC).
Its location makes the community highly vulnerable to climate and disaster risks. In fact, the community suffered during the 2016 El Niño drought when water levels ran low and wells only produced brackish water.
After the drought, the islanders decided to ask for support and after a series of meetings with the EU, they were able to secure funding through the Readiness for El Niño project.
The project prioritized children, senior citizens, and other vulnerable members of the community by installing new storage systems at the school and the dispensary. A water connection was also installed at the home of the oldest resident on the island.
Bomakaran Borong, an 80-year-old Kapingamarangi resident, said: “I am very appreciative of the project that has made the water available to me. I am so thankful for this project, how the water is extended to my place.”
The community now has access to an additional 51,000 gallons of drinking water during normal and drought conditions, according to the SPC.
The actual installation started earlier this year and to ensure that the project is responsive to the needs of the community, several consultative meetings were held with local leaders before the EU officially started the project.