Historically, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has faced significant challenges with its water supply. During 2015 and 2016, extremely low precipitation and an especially intense El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) resulted in a severe drought. By May 2016, 21,000 people in RMI were affected – 1,257 households on the outer islands and 5,195 households in urban areas.
The administration of the government of RMI is small and conducting a ’full’ PDNA was considered likely be a challenge for agencies already working to support sectors and communities affected by the drought. As a result, a rapid socio-economic assessment was conducted, rather than a comprehensive PDNA. This assessment will form the basis of the drought recovery strategy to be managed by the government, and will guide recovery in key sectors affected by the drought
While PDNAs have been conducted for droughts in other parts of the world, such as Africa, this assessment is the first PDNA of a drought in the Pacific. As well as providing specific policy guidance and planning information for RMI, it also represents a considerable learning exercise for other drought-affected countries in the Pacific region.