Mission to Marshall Islands
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.