Desalination in Micronesia Could Alleviate Water ScarcityMicronesia, a cluster of hundreds of islands nestled in the Southwest Pacific, is a region with unique obstacles to development. Nationwide efforts to fight poverty are difficult to execute because of the disconnected nature of the islands. One of the greatest barriers for Micronesian communities in the fight against poverty is access to safe water. As of 2015, around 15% of the rural population lacked access to basic drinking-water sources. Water supply in the South Pacific is particularly susceptible to the climate, with certain weather patterns making the water too brackish, or is diseased with cholera, typhoid and other deadly water-borne illnesses.

Hardships and the Importance of a Stable Water Supply

In 2016, the region experienced one of the worst droughts in Micronesian history. An emergency response coordinator at the International Organization for Migration explained that the drought’s impacts went beyond just providing drinking water. In early 2020, some preparatory schools in Weno were forced to close because wells were drying up.

Furthermore, because agriculture employs almost half of the nation’s labor force and produces 60% of food supply, groundwater supply is critical. In the past, severe droughts have led local farms, which are the backbone of the economy, to be shut down.

A Promising Solution

Since problems of national drought and water insecurity in the country continue to resurface, many understand that there must be a restructuring of the Micronesian water infrastructure. Fortunately, the islands’ seafront location is leading many to suggest the potential of desalination in Micronesia. This process makes ocean water drinkable and has the potential to meet Micronesia’s needs. The Marshall Islands, one of the five states in Micronesia, recently completed a desalination project that purifies 1,600 cubic meters of seawater a day. Partially funded by the Asian Development Bank, the project has been revolutionary for the Marshall Islands’ water independence. Beyond the South Pacific, nations around the world have caught on to the capabilities of desalination, from Saudi Arabia and Oman to China and India. Plants operate in more than 100 countries, and many areas, like Dubai, have been able to shift to almost 100% desalination.

The Role of Renewable of Energy

Not only does desalination in Micronesia give islands the autonomy to have a stable water supply, but the desalination plants typically encourage the growth of renewable energy, like solar panels. This is partially a result of the fact that most modern desalination plants are powered through solar energy. When government funding is available to introduce solar energy, a presence for renewables is better established in the economy and further investment is more likely. The new plants in the Marshall Islands are solar-powered and have catalyzed the development of solar street lights estimated to significantly reduce energy consumption. These plants also provide reliable drinking water to 3000 Micronesians.


While poverty and child mortality rates have steadily dropped in the region in the last decades, Micronesia cannot continue to improve on this progress without access to a stable water supply. Fortunately, the development of infrastructure to encourage desalination in Micronesia alongside current plants in the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu is a groundbreaking step in this effort for nationwide water security.

Jack Berexa
Photo: Flickr

New Business Opportunities in Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia is a 600-island nation in the Pacific Ocean where 40 percent of the population lived in poverty as of 2014 and 32 out of 1,000 children died before the age of 5 as of 2017. Micronesia is heavily reliant on U.S. aid since the nation’s independence in 1986, but many expect it to end by 2023 as the country struggles with unemployment, over-reliance on fishing and a stagnant local business sector with uncertainty looming. Micronesia’s private sector will need a significant boost when aid from the U.S. comes to an end. Opening new business opportunities in Micronesia, specifically at the local level, is a priority the Pacific island nation needs to capitalize on.

Connecting Micronesia

The rise of the internet has been an important business driver for the private sectors for many nations. Micronesia has been tackling a project to expand the country’s own servers both locally and globally. The Pacific Regional Connectivity Project by the World Bank is a long-term project that will not only connect Micronesia with its neighbors Palau, Nauru and Kiribati via a fiber network, but also allows Micronesia to open and regulate the market to allow the private to build and improve domestic businesses that the current satellite connections would not be able to bring. The building of the lines to improve networking and connections is a pivotal investment to increase the domestic business sector to boost the local economy. Exploiting the internet is an important objective for opening new business opportunities in Micronesia and evolve the local marketplace.

Tourism Sector in Micronesia

Improving the tourism sector is also a priority Micronesia should exploit to bolster its economy. Neighboring countries such as Palau, Nauru and the Northern Marina Islands, a U.S. territory, have strong connections to various Asian countries to allow easier access to their respective areas of interest, which Micronesia also currently relies on if falling short. States within Micronesia have taken steps to rectify the tourism concern, such as when Yap made a controversial deal with the Chinese development company Exhibition & Travel Group in 2011 to develop tourist destinations 1,000 acres across the state. Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinea-based airline Air Niugini established connections to Chuuk and Pohnpei, Micronesia in 2016 and increased flight capacity in 2017.

Fishing Sector in Micronesia

While Micronesia has been improving its tourism sector, it has also made deals with countries outside of the U.S. to bolster its fishing sector which has been in major need of development. Focusing on the regional neighbors has been a major step in that development. As an island nation, fishing is one of Micronesia’s main economic sources, however, there have been concerns about its long-term reliability, and thus, the country’s management of resources has become necessary. Chuuk has size-based policies to control and maintain fish populations during appropriate seasons, balancing the marketplace and keeping fish populations at sustainable levels. Micronesia also began a transparency program in its tuna fishing sector in 2018, a measure to monitor and sustain the tuna population for both local and international marketplaces. Fishing is an important asset for Micronesia; maintaining the population levels of various species including tuna is a priority the country be paying attention to for years to come.

Opening new business opportunities in Micronesia requires the country to branch out from the guiding hand of the U.S. and beseech nearby neighbors to bolster the local economy. Micronesia also expects to sustain its local fish populations to enhance the markets both locally and internationally. While the steps have been small, the Federated States of Micronesia has made the necessary moves in the event that the United States end its aid in 2023.

Henry Elliott
Photo: Flickr



Infrastructure Development in Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia relies heavily on foreign aid, yet under its Infrastructure Development Plan 2016-2025, it plans to gain self-reliance and growth in six main areas. In addition, the Sustainable Energy Development and Access Project and the Maritime Investment Project, funded by the World Bank, are two major projects that are already underway. The developments are in key areas, such as fishing and island connectivity, which many Micronesians rely on for their livelihood.

Federal States of Micronesia Infrastructure Development Plan 2016-2025

As part of Micronesia’s Infrastructure Development Plan, economic growth and self-reliance are two areas of improvement. Micronesia is a remote region containing more than 600 islands northeast of Papua New Guinea, 74 of which are inhabited. Due to its remoteness, tourism and investment in the main regions of Micronesia are sparse. The Infrastructure Development Plan is focused on six main areas: macroeconomic stability, good governance, developing a private sector-led economy, health and education services, infrastructure improvement and long-term environmental sustainability.

Under this umbrella, Micronesia already has a number of accomplishments under its belt. Specifically, the School Facility Repair and Construction Master Plan came to fruition in 2013. Likewise, the Airport Master Plan was completed in 2012 and involves safety and security in air transportation. There are four international airports, and development in air transportation is another step to attracting tourism to Micronesia, and therefore, income to those employed in the tourism industry. Although infrastructure development in Micronesia covers many areas, positive economic growth and progress in becoming self-reliant are two important goals for developing its economy.

Sustainable Energy Development and Access Project

The World Bank donated $30 million to Micronesia’s Sustainable Energy Development and Access Project in December 2018. The project aims to increase electricity access and quality and to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. The four main states of Micronesia, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap rely on fossil fuels like diesel. About 96 percent of electricity use in Micronesia comes from fossil fuels, and about 75 percent of the total population has access to electricity.

The project’s goals are the following: increase electricity status in the state of Chuuk, increase renewable energy generation in the states of Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap, improve performance of the Pohnpei Utility Cooperation and provide technical assistance relating to governance, accountability and financial performance of the energy sector. Electricity access varies on the islands. Only 27 percent of the population in Chuuk has access to electricity, yet Pohnpei has a 95 percent electrification rate. The project aims to provide access to renewable energy to the islands for long-term use.

Federated States of Micronesia Maritime Investment Project

The Maritime Investment Project is another source of infrastructure development in Micronesia that was approved on May 9. At a cost of over $38 million, its focus is to increase efficiency, safety, security and climate resilience of maritime infrastructure and operations in Micronesia, including upgrades or repairs to terminal structures at Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap ports. The project will also improve the connection between the islands with regards to access to food, water and emergency response services.

More than 90 percent of exports are fish. The project benefits not only for infrastructure development in the major ports but also for Micronesians that work in the strong fishing industry. The project ends on August 1, 2024. Sihna Lawrence, Microneisa’s Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, said, “Guided by our Infrastructure Development Plan, we look forward to working with the World Bank to improve our maritime transport and develop stronger connectivity across the archipelago.”

Ongoing Infrastructure Developments

Micronesia’s goal of self-reliance is given through the development plan and projects. Infrastructure development in Micronesia is a major move toward reducing the 41 percent poverty rate and improving health, education and the overall wellbeing of Micronesians.

– Lucas Schmidt
Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in Micronesia
A lack of credit access in Micronesia is limiting Micronesia’s ability to develop effective solutions to widespread poverty. Limited credit regulation and poor banking infrastructure (Micronesia has only 14 bank branches per 100,000 adults) have hindered attempts at poverty reduction. An estimated 16 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line (individuals or families whose income per person is less than $1.90 per day) while an estimated 42 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line.


A lack of effective financial regulation plays an important role in this problem, as Micronesia lacks both the public (credit registry) and private (credit bureau) infrastructure necessary to ensure that financial institutions can confidently provide loans to businesses and individuals. This has produced an extremely small lending practice in Micronesia, as banks and other institutions face a substantial risk when offering loans. Beyond simply the difficulty in verifying that debtors can pay back their loans, there is little legal protection for creditors. When a debtor defaults on a loan, secured creditors do not receive payment first, and if a debtor files for bankruptcy, there are no legal guidelines establishing relief for the creditor. This creates little incentive for lending institutions to grant credit, as there are often serious questions about the prospect of getting their money back.

While poor financial regulation may not appear to have an immediate effect on the spread of poverty, it plays a substantial role in limiting prospects for poverty reduction. The two largest sectors of Micronesia’s economy are the service industry and agriculture, which together make up around 81 percent of Micronesia’s GDP. The lack of credit access in Micronesia has amplified the structural difficulties of poverty, as many lack the money necessary to purchase land or start a business. They also cannot reliably acquire such capital from banks, which harms the overall growth of these vital sectors.

Credit access also plays a substantial role in agricultural production. The agriculture industry in Micronesia is declining as it holds an incredibly small portion of Micronesia’s total exports compared to agriculture’s importance in the country’s GDP. Around seven percent of Micronesia’s exports are in agriculture, and the sector is seeing its impact decline overall, as few can afford to remain farmers. Credit access enables farmers to acquire better agricultural inputs, which functions to provide a long-term solution to poverty in Micronesia by raising income levels across the impoverished population, growing individual incomes and strongly affecting Micronesia’s economy.

Business confidence

Beyond simply limiting access for those seeking the startup funds to create a business, the lack of effective credit infrastructure has hampered overall business confidence and undermined faith in the prospects for sustained growth. Constraints on capital have limited the ability for pre-existing businesses to ensure continued access to the money necessary to provide financial stability. This lack of confidence, while largely sentiment-based, has produced an environment which harms overall prospects for economic activity.

The Good News

Fortunately, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has begun investing in local banking infrastructure to develop credit access in Micronesia as a part of its Private Sector Development program. In a series of loans beginning in 2006, the ADB has provided over $9 million to Micronesia, with the goal of improving bank credit and narrowing the gap between public and private employment to develop more jobs in the private sector. The program has thus far been a success, as the employment gap has decreased by 20 percent signaling the growth of private industry.  The ADB can offer loans for land ownership via a partnership with the Federated States of Micronesia Development Bank (FSMDB). It can also improve building infrastructure with one loan recipient saying that he was able to make his used clothing store earthquake-resistant to protect his business against a sudden loss in revenue.

Moreover, Micronesia is implementing reforms to protect financial institutions and improve the government’s capacity to register security rights in moveable properties. As a part of the World Bank’s Doing Business program, established in 2008, Micronesia had the goal of improving legal protections for creditors. Since then, the Micronesian government has developed more reforms which allow for the use of moveable assets as collateral when seeking credit and expanding security agreements to codify the use of such assets.

One cannot underestimate the importance of credit access in Micronesia as it plays an integral role in maintaining vital sectors of the Micronesian economy. Not only does credit impact the country’s economic growth, but it also helps lift individuals out of poverty by providing sustained sources of income. While Micronesia requires more work to develop stronger infrastructure, the Micronesian Government, with the help of the ADB, has begun taking steps in the right direction.

– Alexander Sherman
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits From Foreign Aid to Micronesia

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Micronesia in many ways, including an increase in trade as well as domestic and global security.

There are four basic income levels. Level 1 is extreme poverty described as the situation in which the family can barely afford to eat and must get water from wells. Level 2 is lower-middle income meaning the family can afford decent food and shoes. Level 3 is upper-middle income that means the family can afford running water and basic appliances. Level 4 is high income- family can afford a nice house and cars.

Micronesia is a Level 2 country, whereas the U.S. is a Level 4 country. The U.S. is in a position to help Micronesia’s economy grow and has been doing so since the Compact Free Association between the two countries was signed on July 18, 1947. Under the Compact, the two governments agreed to cooperate in mutual interest. Micronesia has been benefiting from this aid immensely and from the other side, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Micronesia have been equally impressive, including trade and security.

Increased trade between two countries

Whether an individual or country, the more money someone has, the more goods that someone can afford to buy. Furthermore, richer countries are more willing to trade with other countries. This trade lifts people out of poverty by letting the citizens of the poorer country gain access to more markets and sell more goods to richer customers. The newly-enriched people can then buy more expensive products. Thus, people in both countries continue buying from each other and both make money in the process.

The U.S. spent $49.9 million on foreign aid to Micronesia in 2016. This money enabled Micronesians to trade with the U.S. and other countries as well. Micronesia currently exports 26.6 percent of its GDP and has a total merchandise trade value (both imports and exports) of 74.3 percent of its GDP. The export rate is stable and the increase in the merchandise trade rate shows no sign of stopping.

Increased security for both countries

As one of the key features of the Compact Free Association, the U.S. provides defensive forces to help protect Micronesia. In return, Micronesians are free to join the U.S. military. This arrangement allows the U.S. to station military personnel near the East and South China Seas, where the majority of Asian trade and one-third of global trade takes place. As a result, the U.S. has a constant military presence in the area and can keep an eye on Chinese trade transactions, as well as 50 percent of the planet’s energy commerce.

Unfortunately, Micronesia wishes to end the Compact Free Association this year, stating that it heavily favors the U.S. If the Compact were to end, Micronesia could fall under the growing influence of China. This could make Micronesia a pawn in China’s plan to secure the China Seas and keep the U.S. out of these waters, ensuring that China can accomplish its military and national goals. In addition to undoing the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Micronesia, this would leave nearby U.S. territories, such as Guam and American Samoa, exposed and vulnerable.

Additionally, the U.S. would be cut out of a crucial trade route to Euroasia. This means that the U.S. would have to find other and possibly longer trade routes. The fact that U.S. goods would take longer to get to their trade partners would result in a higher price of those goods. The final recipients of the goods would be unwilling to pay such prices since they were used to getting these goods at lower prices. This would lead them to reconsider their overall trade relationship with the U.S.

Ways in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Micronesia cannot be overstated. Giving Micronesia more money means that Micronesians can afford to buy more American goods, resulting in the increased trade. Furthermore, it increases security for both countries by strengthening Micronesia’s overall relationship with the U.S. Both of these factors motivate the U.S. to continue helping Micronesia and, ultimately, both countries are better off with it.

– Cassie Parvaz

Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Micronesia

Located in the northern region of Oceania, the Federated States of Micronesia is comprised of the island country, Nauru, and four prominent island states: the Marshall Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Caroline Islands and the Mariana Islands. Modern education in the islands has grown leaps and bounds from its initial introduction via Japan during World War I, especially once the region became Americanized at the conclusion of World War II. With this American aid, the development of girls’ education in Micronesia began to grow swiftly and has continued ever since.

Millenium Development Goals (MDGs)

According to a status report released by the United Nations Development Programme in 2010, the gap between male and female enrollment in Micronesian schools began to close after signing the Millennium Declaration. In 2009, the ratio of girls to boys in primary education was 0.96, compared to the ratio of 0.92 in 1994. In the same year, the ratio of girls to boys in secondary education was 1.02, and the ratio of girls to boys enrolled in the College of Micronesia was 1.14.

Despite this improvement, girls still scored lower than their male peers, though not by much. The same study shows that in the 2008-2009 school year, while boys garnered an average 65 percent test score, girls scored an average of 61 percent, pegging the overall test score at 62 percent.

Chuuk Women’s Council

Chuuk, one of the four Federated States of Micronesia, had become home to many different non-governmental organizations all throughout the 1980s. In 1984, these organizations began to congregate; by 1993, they had totally coalesced to create bigger waves and to form what is known as the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC).

Currently, the council is spearheaded by Christina “Kiki” Sinnett. In an Office of Minority Health blog post, Sinnett wrote, “The biggest challenge for women in Chuuk is access to education. Unfortunately, in many Chuukese households, girls are overlooked by parents when it comes to education decisions, meaning that they may do whatever it takes to educate their sons, often at the expense of their daughters’ education.”

She further elucidates that many programs the CWC offers are engineered for disenfranchised women who never got the chance to complete their schooling.

Although Chuuk has the highest student populous of all the Micronesian states, the mean amount of time a Micronesian adult spends in school 9.7 years; the United States’ mean amount time spent in school, however, is 12.9 years. This contrast means that while education globally falls short, girls’ education in Micronesia is utterly abysmal.

Promoting Female Wellness

The CWC doesn’t restrict itself to traditional educational lessons. The Shinobu M. Poll Memorial Center triples as a rendezvous for the council’s annual conferences, an educational domain and a wellness center for women. Within the premises, cancer screenings are performed, a dialogue regarding reproduction/reproductive safety is alive, and the doors to HIV tests are open.

In their Healthy Lifestyles Program, the CWC combats tuberculosis as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis promotes abstinence — Chuuk has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all the federated states. The organization also provides reading material for those in need of health-related education.

Another major staple of the CWC is advocacy work, especially regarding violence surrounding women. The establishment lobbied heavily for the age of consent to be legally altered from 13 years old to 18 years old within the nation’s regions.

With much work still left to do and many left uneducated on the harsh realities women face daily in the Federal States of Micronesia, the CWC also stands for “community policing” in their areas. Community policing is, essentially, the spreading of information and reporting of sexual misconduct to expel ignorance and miseducation from the community.

Girls’ Education In Micronesia

Sinnett, who succeeded her mother (the memorial center’s namesake) as CWC president, grew up an active fly on the wall of the nursing lifestyle. “I got to watch her go to work every day,” Sinnet told the Rural Health Information Hub, speaking of her late mother, “care for others, and be a valuable member of our local community.”

This conduct acted as a catalyst for her to become involved herself, and push to ameliorate girls’ education in Micronesia.

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in MicronesiaNASA has stated that the Earth’s carbon dioxide levels have risen dramatically since 1950, from 320 parts per million to more than 400 parts per million. This has caused many critical issues, including rising temperatures, melting glaciers, abnormal natural disasters and rising sea levels. This problem poses a great threat to every country on Earth. However, it is a particular danger for Micronesia, a country of 607 tiny islands that are on average one to five meters above sea level.

Climate Change-Related Natural Disasters

The EM-DAT International Disaster Database indicates that climate change-related natural disasters are predicted to increase and become more intense. Micronesia is especially vulnerable to these disasters due to its location and the fact that much of the infrastructure in Micronesia is located in close proximity to the coast, inducing infrastructural damage and putting many lives at a growing risk.

Rising Sea Levels

The islands of Micronesia are endangered by rising sea levels. A recent Journal of Coastal Conservation article stated that the sea level surrounding the island of Pohnpei is rising by 10 to 12 millimeters per year, a dramatic increase compared to the global average of 3.1 millimeters per year. Other islands such as Nahtik and Ros have already lost 70 and 60 percent of their landmass respectively.

Political Action

Micronesia has already taken steps to lead on climate change policy. In 2007, they ruled out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the fastest growing greenhouse gas, in refrigeration and cooling units. As a result, other countries followed in banning HFCs. The Climate Change Act was passed in 2009 to use the knowledge of climate change and predictions to prevent island damage. Amended in 2013, the act now requires the government to adhere to climate change policy when risk planning.

Infrastructural Response

With knowledge of Micronesia’s challenges, the department of geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaii has developed suggestions that will improve the durability and safety of infrastructure in Micronesia to ensure adaptation to rising sea levels and natural disasters. New roads should be built a meter taller in many of the islands, including Chuuk and Yap, to mitigate the rise in sea levels that will occur during the infrastructural project. To maintain these roads, they will be elevated a foot every 25 years. They suggest this is a cost-efficient way to improve roads in the midst of increasing sea levels.  

To prevent natural disaster damage, the University of Hawaii suggests that buffers should be built along the coast to increase elevation. Further, new drainage systems should be established to prevent flooding and road decay. The drainage systems should be built beneath the roads with a shutoff valve to avert marine incursion.

If this advice is adopted, the infrastructure in Micronesia will be better equipped to withstand the increasing climate change challenges that face them in the near future.

– Mary McCarthy

Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in MicronesiaThe Federated States of Micronesia is comprised of more than 600 islands in the western Pacific ocean, broken down into four nation-states: Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap. In recent years, the main focus for the government has been to foster sustainable agriculture in Micronesia, for the sake of farmers and the Micronesian economy.

Agriculture is a very large part of the Micronesian economy, and the majority of its economic activity revolves around subsistence agriculture and fishing, some of the country’s main crops including breadfruit, banana, taro and yams, its main exports being fish, black pepper and betel nut.

However, despite the fruitfulness and diversity of the Micronesian food supply, local communities have little opportunities to purchase fresh produce, because the majority of produce available in Micronesia is imported and expensive. The truth is that Micronesia can improve its agricultural environment by taking advantage of adequate resources and skilled farmers to improve the situation.

Virendra Verma, a researcher and faculty member at College of Micronesia – FSM, brought up key issues surrounding sustainable agriculture in Micronesia approximately nine years ago. In his research, his most prominent suggestion was finding more effective ways for farmers to raise livestock and grow food without wasting resources. He believed the best way to do this would be to train local farmers on how to effectively use sustainable and integrated agricultural systems.

In 2009, Dr. Virendra proposed the Western SARE project On-Farm Implementation and Demonstration of Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Production Systems for Small-Scale Farmers in Micronesia, an intricate, hands-on plan that uses local resources to demonstrate integrated farming systems involving swine and crop production.

Some specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. To develop cropping systems for multipurpose crops in order to maximize sustainable production.
  2. To develop swine production systems based on local resources.
  3. To develop easy techniques for using various components of crops for many purposes, such as food and nutrients for plants.  
  4. To educate and train farmers the necessary components of improving and carrying out sustainable agriculture in Micronesia.  

In the proposal year, this project was awarded $38,220 and approved by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). From 2009 to December 2011, Dr. Viendra’s plan proved to be active and successful, as it resolved many concerns within Micronesian agriculture.

The program held training for agricultural professionals that focused on key concerns within the scope of food security and family well-being. Activities in the training included presentations, hands-on activities, discussions and a variety of “field trips” that covered topics such as vegetable production, chicken farming and food processing. Additionally, workshops were taught covering a wide range of topics, also focusing on food security and sustainable measures.  

In total, 80 people attended training activities in Chuuk, Palau and Yap, and participation was nearly equal for males and females; 47 percent of the participants were male and 53 percent were female. Likewise, 13 percent of the program participants were agricultural extension agents and 23 percent were farmers. This diverse turnout and the information relayed through the training made this program widely successful and beneficial in terms of improving sustainable agriculture in Micronesia.

The training, workshops and presentations that shaped this program were crucial in increasing the local population’s awareness regarding the importance of implementing effective and sustainable agricultural production. Due to the training, farmers are now able to make better use of their crops, and they are able to produce at higher rates, both things that have the power to improve the Micronesian economy in the coming years.  

– Alexandra Dennis

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to micronesia
Micronesia — also known as the Federated States of Micronesia — is a country in the Pacific Ocean made up of more than 600 islands. The country contains four island states named Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap, and its capital, Palikir, is located on Pohnpei.

Micronesia is at risk of typhoons and super typhoons, which can cause widespread disaster through the islands. In 2008, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) took over humanitarian aid to Micronesia. Previously, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided humanitarian assistance to Micronesia.

Foreign Assistance

USAID, along with the International Organization for Mitigation (IOM), has introduced many programs to help bring humanitarian aid to Micronesia. In an effort to help the most people, the agency is focusing on disaster mitigation. Specifically, in regards to typhoons.

Shortly after taking over funding for humanitarian aid to Micronesia, the United States Agency for International Development funded the Hybrid Mitigation, Relief, and Reconstruction Program which ran through 2013. The International Organization for Mitigation (IOM) also managed and implemented various planning and pre-positioning efforts in Micronesia in areas that are most likely to be hit by natural disasters.

In 2012, the United States Agency for International Development and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) funded the Climate Adaptation, Disaster Risk Management, and Education (CADRE) Program. The program was implemented by the International Organization for Mitigation and works with local government and communities to increase emergency response capacity; this program is still in effect today.

Efforts After Typhoon Maysak

Since Typhoon Maysak, which passed through Micronesia in the spring of 2015, more than $6 million has been spent on humanitarian aid to Micronesia. Most of this funding went towards the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which helps households affected by typhoons. Their efforts include shelter coordination, sanitation, clean water and hygiene interventions.

Also in 2015, in the wake of multiple typhoons and super typhoons from 2013-2015, the United States Agency for International Development, introduced the Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response (PREPARE) Program. Again, this program was implemented by the International Organization of Mitigation. This program pre-positions humanitarian relief supplies, reconstruction and housing infrastructure. The goal of the program is to quickly bring relief to those affected by typhoons in Micronesia and increase the resilience of the nation by mitigating the effects of natural disasters. Thankfully, this program is still in effect, as of 2017.

Through the past several years, the United States Agency for International Development partnered with the International Organization for Mitigation has had many successes in humanitarian aid to Micronesia. In addition to funding mitigation efforts, the United States Agency for International Development has also provided over $4 million to the International Organization for Mitigation, specifically for reconstruction efforts such as housing and utilities.

Most of these efforts are spread through the entirety of Micronesia, but Chuuk and Yap, the most western island states, receive more aid since they are more likely to suffer from a natural disaster. As these programs continue, Micronesia has a great chance of recovering faster and suffering far less damage from any future natural disasters.

– Courtney Wallace
Photo: Flickr