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We are targeting three affected atolls Namu, Majit and Likep. The outer atolls have had some rain, helping the water tanks rise to a third to a half full, but everyone is really afraid that the yearly rainfall, which their livelihood depends on, will not arrive. Climate change is not only a hot topic for the board room in the Pacific Island Forum that is taking place in Majuro, but also in people’s households.
I have spoken to about 130 households over the past weeks and I will speak to about many more in the coming weeks. The message is very clear - the majority of inhabitants of the outer atolls are uncertain about what the climate will bring in the coming years and they are doing the best they can to be prepared. As well as being uncertain I must say that they are resilient, resourceful and community minded.
We are a small team of four, two of us responsible for operations (my national counterpart and myself) and two who are Majuro-based - the operations manager and the admin/finance support person.
I spend half my time in Majuro. We have converted one room of the Marshall Islands Resort to an office, where we spend our time complaining about the internet. Incidentally the best internet connection is at the bar and I spend a lot of my time working from there. That is one of the sacrifices I must make for my job.
Ana Zarkovic is working in the Marshall Islands as part of the New Zealand Red Cross delegate programme which has been running since 1960. The programme is currently supported by funding from New Zealand Aid Programme through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.