- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Federal scientists say that U.S.-affiliated nations in the Micronesia region are facing extreme drought conditions that have led to water rationing, emergency shipment of bottled water and health concerns.

The Pacific Daily News reports (https://bit.ly/1Vp6ck1 ) that a U.S. National Weather Service report from April 1 says government officials in the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia have declared states of disaster or emergency in response to the drought.

The drought has been caused by El Nino, according to the Pacific El Niño Southern Oscillation Applications Climate Center.

In Palau, the drought is the most severe it has been in the island nation’s almost 80 years of recorded history, said Mark Lander, a meteorologist with center. Popular tourist locations there, such as Jellyfish Lake and Rock Islands are at risk if the drought persists. Efforts have been underway in Guam to send bottled water to Palau.

Guam and the Northern Marianas are experiencing below-average rainfall levels, but the situation in Guam has not yet reached levels for emergency or disaster declarations. Although, the Weather Service’s report says water production for southern villages in Guam “will become increasingly difficult.”

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