Mis­sion to Mar­shall Is­lands

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Ana Zarkovic is em­bark­ing on a six month mis­sion to the Mar­shall Is­lands to help is­landers re­cover from a drought.

The 31-year-old Mt Eden wa­ter en­gi­neer left on Sun­day for the is­lands where she will work as an early re­cov­ery del­e­gate help­ing drought af­fected com­mu­ni­ties make use of rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing sys­tems.

Ms Zar­covic was in the is­lands in May when they were in a state of emer­gency be­cause of the drought.

At its height 6400 peo­ple across 15 atolls were sur­viv­ing on less than a litre of wa­ter each per day.

The lack of wa­ter killed crops and caused health prob­lems in­clud­ing di­ar­rhoea, con­junc­tivi­tis and in­fluenza.

‘‘I un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion is not so crit­i­cal now that some parts of the coun­try have had rain,’’ Ms Zar­covic says.

‘‘I feel like I have a con­nec­tion with the com­mu­nity there and am look­ing for­ward to work­ing with them.’’

Ms Zar­covic will be as­sess­ing if the re­verse os­mo­sis de­sali­na­tion unit she left in is­lands is still work­ing and still needed.

The ma­chine is ca­pa­ble of mak­ing one litre of fresh wa­ter a minute. She’ll also be look­ing at ex­ist­ing rain­wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tems such as gut­ters, roofs and tanks.

‘‘I hope my projects will be led by the com­mu­ni­ties I will be as­sist­ing. Strong com­mu­nity own­er­ship of wa­ter sup­ply sys­tems of­ten leads to more buy-in by the com­mu­nity, mak­ing the projects more sus­tain­able,’’ she says.

Mercy mis­sion: Ana Zarkovic is in the Mar­shall Is­lands im­prov­ing wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tems for the drought af­fected area.

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