Kiribati govt declares state of disaster due to severe drought

This follows increased salinity levels in the water sources and below-normal recent rainfall which is forecast to continue until the end of the year.

The disaster declaration allows the government to coordinate efforts involving various public bodies and international agencies and partners to get aid to those already being affected.

The Public Utilities Board is advising people to boil water or use bottled water.

Pacific Maritime Safety Programme approved for another four years

The programme delivers maritime safety initiatives to seven Pacific Island countries – Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The funding, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026, marks the fourth phase of the programme.

The PMSP is a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade programme, funded through the International Development Cooperation programme and delivered by Maritime NZ.

Covid-19 reveals gaps in Kiribati's health care system

Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation, is leading the initiative which is responding to the Omicron outbreak that started in February.

Kiribati has recorded more than 3000 cases and 13 Covid-related deaths.

Medical coordinator Alison Jones said they're identifying gaps in the health care system.

Kiribati records two more Covid-19 deaths

The Health Ministry reports the victims were a 70-year-old man with underlying medical conditions and an 89-year-old woman who was unvaccinated.

There have been over 2,800 infections recorded across the atoll islands, with 23 new cases reported in the past two days.

The Government has extended its nationwide lockdown for another fortnight since Friday.

Authorities said the lockdown "may be longer should the need arise" due to widespread community transmissions.

Omicron variant widespread in Kiribati as 222 new Covid-19 cases recorded

The omicron variant is now widespread in the community as cases continue to be recorded on South Tarawa, Betio, Buota, Butaritari island and in North Tarawa.

The health ministry has confirmed that a 65-year-old woman who previously had a stroke has been admitted to an isolation centre.

The health ministry said 48 border cases at the Quarantine Centre have all been discharged after they tested negative, while another 88 community cases have recovered.

There is one confirmed Covid-19 death on the atoll islands.


Kiribati's Banaba Island faces a food shortage

An advocate, Biara Touakin, who is based in Fiji, said a ship typically visits each month, but the last one, on January the 6th, only contained enough food for about two weeks.

The more than 300 people living on Banaba depend almost entirely on food sent from Tarawa.

The island was decimated by phosphate mining in the first half of the 20th century, and it no longer has fruit bearing trees that could supplement the people's fishing.

Mr Touakin also said the desalination plant installed late last year continues to produce brackish water.

Kiribati extends lockdown as 65 new cases recorded

The Micronesian Island nation recorded 65 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of positive infections to 181.

The Health Ministry said the new infections were reported on Tarawa, and those infected are in home isolation.

There are now 145 local and 36 imported cases.

Authorities also confirmed that some government officials have tested positive for the virus and are working remotely.

The authorities are advising people to strictly follow the Covid-19 protocols to minimise the risks and spreading the virus in the community.

Kiribati confirms more than 100 Covid-19 cases, prompting new govt restrictions

There are 116 people infected on the island - 36 imported and 80 local cases.

Nine new cases have been found in Butaritari Island, prompting the government to advise local authorities to enforce a lockdown.

Several other islands have been placed under strict restrictions - including South Tarawa, Betio, and Buota - to stop the virus from spiralling out of control.

Meanwhile, the government said that from today, fishermen in South Tarawa and Betio would only be allowed to go fishing between 6am and 2pm.

Kiribati goes into first lockdown after Covid flight cases

Under the new measures, people have been told to stay at home and social gatherings are banned.

Some 36 people on the flight from Fiji have tested positive. Four people have caught the virus from community transmission.

Until last week, Kiribati had recorded just two Covid cases.

Kiribati is one of the most isolated islands in the world. It is some 4,800km (2,980 miles) from its nearest continent, Australia.

Kiribati opens Phoenix marine reserve for commercial fishing

The Phoenix Island Protection Area, which was established in 2006 and is more than 400,000 square kilometers in size, was closed for fishing in 2015.

The government said since 2015, this led to a revenue loss from fishing licences of almost $US150 million.

It said this loss went against the development needs of the country.

It said its Kiribati Vision for 20 years was people-centric and so Kiribati efforts to protect biodiversity needs to strike a balance to enable actions that also uplift the livelihoods of the people.