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Published on 11th October 2011
Former VSA UniVol Anna Reid has been involved in efforts to deliver fresh drinking water to drought-hit Tokelau.
Anna, who went on a UniVol assignment to South Africa in 2010, now works as a policy officer in MFAT’s special relations unit. The unit runs New Zealand’s development programmes in Niue and Tokelau.
Anna is part of a group of New Zealand government officials who sailed from Pago Pago in American Samoa to Tokelau on the United States Coastguard cutter, the Walnut. The Walnut has its own desalination unit, and it arrived at the atoll of Nukunono on Monday with 136,000 litres of fresh water.
The water was transferred into empty containers which were delivered to the local villages by truck.
Nukunonu’s faipule, Pio Tuia, told Radio New Zealand International that everyone is being issued a minimum of 10 litres of water a day. The atoll hopes to receive desalination units being sent from New Zealand soon.
Tokelau’s two other atolls are also receiving water from the US Coastguard cutter.
The water shortages are the result of a drought blamed on a La Nina weather pattern. Tokelau and Tuvalu have both declared states of emergency due to severe shortages.
VSA volunteers have been working in Tokelau for over a decade focusing on education. To find out more about our education work in Tokelau, read our case study, Rethinking Tokelau education: Tokelau and the role of VSA volunteers.