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New Zealand, U.S. Send Support to Tokelau Amid Water Shortage

New Zealand and U.S. agencies are cooperating to provide emergency water supplies to the Pacific Island nation of Tokelau, as a drought threatens fresh-water stocks, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said.

An air force C-130 Hercules carrying water containers will leave New Zealand early tomorrow for American Samoa where it will rendezvous with a U.S. Coastguard cutter, which has an on-board desalination plant, McCully said in an e-mailed statement. The coastguard vessel will then travel to Tokelau’s three main atolls, he said.

The extra supplies will, with current stocks, be sufficient in the short-term, McCully said. Tokelau, about 3,380 kilometers (2,110 miles) north of New Zealand, has a population of 1,500 people, all of whom are New Zealand citizens, he said.

New Zealand is also responding to a water shortage in Tuvalu, another Pacific island nation in the same region.

Editor: Chris Bourke

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