Kiribati Struggles with High Child Mortality Rate, Lack of Fresh Water


The tiny Pacific island nation of Kiribati is struggling with a high child mortality rate, due largely to a lack of access to fresh water.

Kiribati is comprised of 32 coral atolls spanning 1.3 million square miles in the Pacific. The atolls themselves are small and low-lying and much of the islands have already been overtaken by rising sea level. The sea has contaminated several groundwater sources, making them undrinkable.

Combine the lack of available fresh water and inadequate sanitation and disease spreads easily. Children are the hardest hit. Kiritbati’s child mortality rate is twice that of neighboring nations.

Precipitation on Kiribati is highly variable, with some years experiencing severe droughts. The average annual precipitation is about 100 inches. Some possible solutions include rainwater harvesting and desalination plants.

Kiribati photo via Shutterstock

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Author: Heather Carr

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