10 Facts about Life Expectancy in NauruNauru is an eight square mile island in the Central Pacific, located almost 2,500 miles northeast from Australia and with a population of nearly 13,000 people. Nauru has faced multiple major challenges in the past including diminishing all of its phosphate reserves and being the home of a controversial detention center for the refugees seeking asylum in Australia. However, in recent years, major improvements in the country’s quality of life have occurred, subsequently increasing the life expectancy of Nauru. These 10 facts about life expectancy in Nauru outline the progress the country has made in recent years.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Nauru

  1. Life expectancy in Nauru is increasing. In 2020, it reached 68.4 years in contrast with the average life expectancy in 2000 of 60 years old.
  2. The unemployment rate has dropped immensely. In 2004, 90% of the country did not have employment. Meanwhile, strip mining ravaged the island, rendering most of its land unusable for agriculture, forestry or recreation. Additionally, these practices almost caused the school system to collapse. Nauru mined all of its phosphate resources and shipped them off to other countries to use as fertilizer. The country was simultaneously combating corruption, climate change and money-laundering. Despite these issues, the unemployment rate in 2011 has dropped by almost 70%, and after nine years, it is currently sitting at 23%. As the unemployment rate decreases, more people should be able to sustain themselves despite the country’s slowly growing economy, consequently boosting the life expectancy.
  3. The health crisis directly correlates with Nauru’s social and economic circumstances. Extreme levels of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity are dropping in Nauru. While more than 70% of people in Nauru were obese in 2018, the percentage dropped to 45% in 2014. Slowly, but surely, people are starting to decrease their alcohol and tobacco consumption and choose a healthier lifestyle.
  4. From 1960-1970, Nauru held one of the highest GDPs, conceding only to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. In 1973, Nauru’s Annual GDP was $26 million. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s was almost $15 million. Nauru lost its rich economic potential during the crash of the phosphate industry and unfortunately, Nauru has exhausted all of its natural resources. Today, Nauru’s GDP is only $112 million and it is surviving with Australia’s help and ambitious plans for the future.
  5. Nauru has 1.24 physicians per 1,000 of the population. Meanwhile, 96.5% of people have access to improved drinking water sources, such as protected wells or public taps. Nauru has more physicians available for its population than countries like Chile, Egypt, Iran and Vietnam.
  6. Around 11% of Nauru’s federal budget or expenditure goes towards the health of its citizens. Nauru’s facilities include two big hospitals located on the island that provide free medical and dental treatments for Nauruans and employees of the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. Furthermore, while the risks of contracting bacterial diarrhea and malaria are high, Nauru is on its way to completing the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals, outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO), aim to reduce the prevalence of malaria and HIV as well as child mortality. It is also important to note that for a developing country, Nauru’s mortality rate from these diseases is low.
  7. Nauru is partnering with the Green Climate Fund to upgrade its maritime port. This partnership will directly boost Nauru’s food security, local economy, commerce and life expectancy. It will be easier for shipping vessels to disembark and for local business owners to have new opportunities due to incoming exports. Nauru is also advancing its Higher Ground Initiative, which will remove infrastructure from coastal areas and place them elsewhere. Both the Higher Ground Initiative and the new port facility will stimulate employment, create renewable energy and provide a stable income for many. These developments will, in turn, improve the citizens’ Human Development Index (HDI), which estimates the wellbeing, health and life expectancy in Nauru.
  8. Another partnership with The World Health Organization (WHO) resulted in the National Health Strategic Plan of 2018-2022, an attempt to revive Nauru’s healthcare system. This plan will implement high immunization coverage, improve mental health, monitor the drinking-water quality, strengthen systems that protect people from HIV, STIs and tuberculosis and create a national plan to increase life expectancy in Nauru. In 2019, the WHO discovered that Nauru had zero cases of bacterial diarrhea, influenza, donor lymphocyte infusions and pulmonary fibrosis. This suggests that the implemented health plan has made positive changes.
  9. The mortality rate of children under 5 years old has been decreasing. In 2018, the mortality rate was 32 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2020, it dropped to 7.4 deaths per 1,000 births. The mortality rate has also decreased by more than 97% as skilled health staff now assist all births.
  10. Despite economic and health care progress, life expectancy for refugees in Nauru remains low. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reported that out of the 208 refugee patients that it served, 60% had suicidal thoughts and 30% attempted suicide.  The life expectancy of refugees living in detention camps is also low. The Guardian reported two dire instances of refugees’ desperation. In the first, a refugee set himself on fire out of despair and powerlessness. In the second instance, a 12-year-old boy was at risk of dying from a two-week-long hunger strike out of hopelessness.

While Nauru is making a lot of progress in its health care and economy, it must continue addressing its refugee crisis that leads to the loss of innocent lives. A coalition of prominent NGOs and Australia’s largest human rights organizations such as the Refugee Council of Australia and Australian Lawyers Alliance are working to re-locate refugee children from Nauru to Australia. In 2019, many resettled in the United States and Australia.

If Nauru continues to strive for financial independence, provide jobs for its people and create stable sources of income, it could eliminate many of the country’s health problems that come from smoking and alcohol addiction. This, in turn, should increase life expectancy in Nauru. By developing as an economically stable and self-sufficient country, it may also no longer need to support Australia’s controversial detention camps for asylum seekers.

– Anna Sharudenko
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Living Conditions in Nauru
Situated in the Pacific Ocean to the northeast of Australia, the Republic of Nauru is the smallest island nation in the world. Phosphate mining has rendered 80 percent of the island unhabitable and devoid of arable land. Phosphate deposits depleted in the 1980s and Nauru’s economy stagnated, transitioning the country from fiscally self-sustaining to externally dependent. The country’s history, economy and foreign relationships interlace with—and have shaped many aspects of—Nauruan life, as evidenced by the top 10 facts about living conditions in Nauru.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Nauru

  1. Population: Nauru’s population is approximately 11,000. Ninety percent are indigenous to the island, almost half of the population are under the age of 24 and 3.5  percent are 65 and older. Although the country’s landmass is only eight square miles, Nauru is one of the world’s most densely populated countries.
  2. Colonialism: Nauru remained under colonial authority until gaining independence in 1968. For example, Germany annexed it in 1888, Japan occupied it in WWII and the United Nations (U.N.) subsequently placed Nauru under Australian administration. The nation only became of economic interest to colonial powers after the discovery of phosphate deposits in the late 19th century.
  3. Australian-Nauru Relations: Nauru sought damages from Australia in 1989 for “rehabilitation of the phosphate lands.” Before WWII, Germany and the United Kingdom split mining profits, and following the war, Australia and the United Kingdom divided revenues. The Hague sided with Nauru and the two countries settled in 1993 with Australia agreeing to pay $56 million AUD that year and another $50 million AUD over the next two decades. Australia continues to be Nauru’s greatest source of economic stimulus, its contributions making up 20 percent of the national GDP.
  4. Economy: Phosphate mining and production is integral to Nauru’s economy and continues to be the country’s most valuable resource. Phosphate is one of the key plant nutrients to make food crop fertilizer. Additionally, phosphate mines are an essential source of employment. A national economic crisis occurred in the 80s when Nauru exhausted existing deposits. Secondary mining did resume in 2005, but Nauru’s government estimates that reservoirs will be barren by 2030. Other niche industries have recently emerged, including immigration taxation and licensing commercial fishing. The Republic of China (ROC) and Nauru signed a fishing cooperation accord in 2004 to strengthen trade relations between the two countries. Renewed in 2016, the cooperation accord provides funds to improve Nauru’s fishing industry and promotes sustainable fishing practices.
  5. The Pacific Solution Policy: In 2001, Nauru became one of two Australian off-shore regional processing centers for refugees and asylum-seekers in an arrangement called the Pacific Solution policy. In exchange, the Australian Government would provide $1 million AUD annually for its operation, immediately pay $16.5 million AUD for infrastructure and provide increased access to Australian education and additional maritime security. Facilities closed from 2007 to 2012 due to international objections, including indefinite detention times and evidence of abuse; however, despite criticism, operations have since recommenced.
  6. Employment: Following the economic downturn in the 1980s, Nauru did not significantly diversify its industries, unemployment levels increased and the country became heavily dependent on external economic stimulus. For example, the uptick in employment levels in 2012 was the result of regional processing centers reopening. Facilities directly provided 500 jobs, and indirectly generated substantial ancillary employment opportunities; next to Nauru’s government, Australia is the country’s second-largest source of employment.
  7. Health Care: Nauru was one of seventeen countries in 2016 that, proportionate to its economy, spent over 10 percent of its GDP on health care. The Marshall Islands spent the most at 23.3 percent and Monaco spent the least at 1.7 percent. Despite this, many Nauruan’s develop noncommunicable diseases, specifically, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although obesity remains an issue in Nauru, it has made progress as male diabetes rates have declined 1 percent over the past decade and high blood pressure levels have decreased for both genders by 6 percent.
  8. Poverty: Nauru is officially a middle-upper-income nation, and previously, it was the wealthiest country per capita. However, a 2018 U.N. report showed that a quarter of Nauruans live in “basic need” poverty, too poor for the cost of food and access to necessities such as clean water, health care and education. The same 2018 report noted that Nauru had no instances of food insecurity, however.
  9. Education: Education in Nauru is free and mandatory until the age of 18. Eighty percent of Nauruan children enrolled in early and primary education in 2015, but only half that number attended secondary school. The Government addressed truancy in 2016, an ongoing concern for students in Nauru, by enacting the Nauru Education Assistance Trust Scheme (NEATS). NEATS incentivizes students to attend school by providing them with $5 a day to set aside for adulthood and help them establish businesses or purchase homes when they graduate. Following NEAT, school attendance increased by 11 percent from 2016 to 2018.
  10. National Sustainability: Nauru is confronting the significant damage that phosphate mining caused. The government acknowledges that it is an economically volatile and diminishing commodity. For example, the ROC and Nauru’s 360 Project is an initiative that encourages national self-sufficiency in areas such as vocational training, transitioning to solar energy and specialized forms of agriculture; the latter is to mitigate reliance on imported goods. The United Arab Emirates has aligned with Nauru to achieve similar efforts, providing financial aid for Nauru to establish its first solar energy plant, which opened in 2016.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Nauru reveal that its history is complex. The country’s remote location, limited economic opportunities and increasing dependence on foreign investment—usually politically contingent for all countries—continue to impact the Nauruan population. However, ongoing U.N. involvement and foreign relationships with countries like Australia and the ROC, are working to address Nauru’s long-term social issues.

– Annabel Fay
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

5 Facts About Nauru’s Overweight Health Issue
Nauru is a small island country located in the Pacific Ocean near Papa New Guinea and is home to around 10,000 people. More than 70 percent of the population in this country is categorized as obese and overweight. According to the World Health Organization, Nauru has the highest percentage of overweight and obese people in the world. Its ongoing health issue has gained much attention from health organizations. Many organizations, like the World Diabetes Foundation, have reached out and offered financial help to establish health care programs in the hopes that the people of Nauru will take on a healthier lifestyle but have found little success. Here are 5 facts about Nauru’s overweight health issue.

5 Facts About Nauru’s Overweight Health Issue

  1. Causes of Death: Nauru has the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world with 40 percent of its inhabitants affected by the condition. This condition puts many people at risk for heart and kidney disease on the small island and many suffer from high blood pressure. Very few people live past the age of 60 on the island.
  2. The Nauruan Diet: The obesity and overweight problem found in Nauru may be because of the lack of proper nutrition in Nauruan’s diets. Many of their diets consist of white rice, instant noodles, imported Westernized foods and soda with very little fruits and vegetables. A Global Nutrition Report suggests that once Nauru makes improvements to the quality of foods available, it could start to see some success in reducing the number of people being that obesity affects. Some ways it can start working towards a healthier lifestyle is by creating easy-to-understand food labels, limiting the marketing of junk food to children and increasing taxes on sodas.
  3. Child Obesity: According to a 2017 UNICEF report, 44 percent of children ages 13 to 15 are overweight while 17 percent are obese. Many children on the island are not getting enough physical activity. Only 15 percent of children reported being physically active for at least an hour a day. On the other hand, 33 percent of children reported that they spend at least three hours per day doing sitting activities. Obesity has become a social norm that many children have accepted and do not see anything wrong with.
  4. Lack of Traditional Practices: The World Health Organization has suggested that Nauru’s obesity problem started with the decline of traditional practices such as fishing and gardening. Before the country gained independence, many Nauruan’s diets consisted of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables grown on their own land. Because of the easy money the country was able to gain from phosphate mining, people stopped farming and fishing and found it easier to import canned and frozen foods.
  5. Solutions: Obesity rates have not dropped on the island, but some have made efforts to help people get some physical activity. Events such as Walk against Cancer were prevalent in Nauru. In 2010, locals received encouragement to walk around the three-mile airport perimeter every Wednesday. The country eventually stopped the three-mile walks due to security reasons but people on the island still provide regular exercise classes.

These 5 facts about Nauru’s overweight health issue have shown that the island country of Nauru is suffering from a huge obesity problem and exercise is not the only solution to this issue. Good nutrition is an extremely important aspect of preventing diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease and something that Nauru has to prioritize to see any changes in the lifestyles of its citizens. Providing children and adults with fresh vegetables and fruits instead of imported junk foods will make a huge impact on the health of this country. The people of Nauru are capable of changing their lifestyles if provided with the right tools.

– Jannette Aguirre
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Nauru

Nauru is a small island nation that, on a map, seems like a speck in the ocean. However, there are 10,000 people that live here, and a dire situation faces the population. As the world faces rising temperatures, island nations like Nauru are in grave danger. According to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels are scheduled to rise between 2 and 3 feet this century. If greenhouse gas emissions are not slowed, sea levels could rise even faster, which would lead to a devastating situation in Nauru producing thousands of refugees and the loss of a homeland.

The current U.S. administration has been slashing budgets for foreign aid, and many have condemned this nationalistic approach to global poverty. The International Rescue Committee has called the proposed cuts “counterproductive and ill-timed,” especially in the face of global instability due to climate change. Considering the ways in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru, these cuts seem counterproductive.

President Trump banned the provision of U.S. funds to countries supportive of Georgia’s “Russian Occupied Territories” in 2017. Since Nauru recognized these territories as independent, it is losing U.S. funding in a time of dire need. The U.S. has historically provided direct assistance to Nauru in the form of water-tanker trucks and aid for Nauru’s law enforcement. Many are urging the U.S. government to reconsider, as countries like Nauru are in extreme need of aid.

The fact of the matter is that when the U.S. provides foreign aid, it boosts national security and helps the global economy. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru, as, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, everyone is better off when there are more middle-income countries in the world.

Shared prosperity prevents global epidemics and war, and promotes U.S. exports because more countries can afford them. In addition, it promotes global stability and improves the mindset of Americans in a humanitarian manner. Another way that the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru is that it will prevent a refugee humanitarian crisis, as is happening in Syria.

More specifically to this country, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Nauru by the provision of seafood stocks to U.S. fisherman. Nauru is home to the world’s largest sustainable tuna fishery. The fishery is a global leader in tuna conservation, and it provides a product that many U.S. consumers enjoy. If Nauru is not provided aid, world tuna stocks will greatly deplete, which would be destructive to this industry.

The World Bank strongly champions the benefits of foreign aid to Nauru in relation to fish stocks, and addressed this topic in conjunction with increasing economic returns and sustainable management. If there is targeted investment, an extra $300 million could be netted without depleting fish stocks. This aid would greatly improve Nauru’s economy, creating benefits for U.S. exporters and fishermen.

The facts are clear: Nauru needs help, and it needs it now. Experts are condemning current U.S. policy that prohibits aid. The good news is, by providing funds to Nauru, the U.S. is also benefitting itself.

– Jillian Fox
Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in NauruThe small island of Nauru was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita, during its phosphorus mining boom in the 20th century. But while the island was cashing in on its phosphate deposits, it was also creating a catastrophic environmental and agricultural legacy that would last for years.

Unchecked mining left an excessively jagged landscape that was almost useless for plant or food growth. With only 20 percent of land suitable for agricultural use, according to the Commonwealth Network, sustainable agriculture in Nauru became a distant dream. Since the end of the mining boom, the island has made slow progress towards rehabilitating the island for environmental and agricultural purposes. To further these efforts, in 1993 the Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation provided funding for multiple land rehabilitation projects, only of which has been successful thus far.

Due to the lack of any sustainable agriculture in Nauru, 90 percent of the island’s food is imported. Nauru’s strained financial situation makes the high costs of imported food an even greater burden. To make up for these high costs, Nauru imports cheaper, processed food, creating a severe shortage of healthy food in the diets of Nauru’s inhabitants. Increased consumption of unhealthy food led to obesity, in turn causing a rise in non-communicable diseases, threatening the health and lives of the people.

Efforts towards creating sustainable agriculture in Nauru are focused on the essential aspects: energy, water and small crops. Moqua Well, Nauru’s only underground lake, is being used for a solar-powered purification system to deliver drinkable water to the island’s inhabitants.

Buada Lagoon, Nauru’s only surface lake, is surrounded by small crops and domestic gardens, which constitute a large part of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) plan for creating sustainable agriculture in Nauru. These provide the people with small and viable crops, mainly coconuts. Providing food security has proved a challenge; many of the agricultural and farming practices have fallen out of use, leaving the island’s current farmers ignorant of the best systems for crop cultivation.

The FAO provided training for farmers after an insect infestation caused a large decline in coconut production, demonstrating the proper methods for biological control and insect identification. Over 75 percent of Nauruan farmers used pamphlets found in the island’s resource center. Educating the farmers in these matters is the first and most important step towards creating food security and sustainable agriculture in Nauru.

– Kayla Rafkin

Photo: Flickr

development projects in Nauru

Nauru, the world’s smallest republic, is home to 10,000 citizens. Its economic decline corresponds with the depletion of phosphate mines in the 1980s. Phosphate mining and exports resumed in 2005, but the Nauruan government estimates the phosphate deposits’ remaining life to be 30 years.

Nauru has become increasingly dependent on aid; Australia is its largest donor. The following development projects in Nauru aim to support an economically stable and independent republic.

Aid Investment Plan 2015-2016 to 2018-2019

This project aims to promote more effective public sector management, invest in nation-building infrastructure and support human development.

Electricity Supply Security and Sustainability Project

Investments will provide two new fuel-efficient generators for the Nauru Utilities Corporation (NUC), help repair the corporation’s power station and support institutional strengthening of the NUC.

Port Development Project

Alleviating Nauru’s reliance on its problematic port mooring system, this project will construct a quay wall and access causeway, reconstruct port buildings and storage containers and strengthen the Nauru ports’ institutional capacity.

Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative

Sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, this project will reestablish banking services, improve financial literacy and undertake reforms to expand financial services on the island.

Nauru Infrastructure and Essential Services

One of several Australian projects in the nation, the goals of this project are to plan, coordinate and maintain essential infrastructure and utilities development, identify key priorities for infrastructure development and provide improved access to affordance priority health facilities.

Australia’s 2015-2016 aid program enabled development projects in Nauru and contributed to:

  • Maintaining 100 percent primary school enrollment
  • Achieving 100 percent coverage for tuberculosis and hepatitis B vaccines for newborns
  • Introducing Nauru’s first taxation system
  • Establishing the Intergenerational Trust for the People of Nauru
  • Adopting the Queensland Certificate of Education
  • Graduating 14 students from the University of New England with an associate’s degree in teaching
  • Addressing domestic violence and decision-making

Current development projects in Nauru focus on the broader Nauruan community’s need and the government’s development priorities. Nauru’s stabilization will promote prosperity and security in the Pacific region.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr


As the smallest country in the world, Nauru is home to about 1,600 refugees. Close to 200 refugees will emigrate to the United States during the month of January 2018. The country relies on international aid to support various programs. The local population has been positively impacted by humanitarian aid to Nauru from various international donors.

Australian Humanitarian Aid to Nauru

From 2016 to 2017, the total estimated outcome provided by the Australian Official Development Assistance (ODA) was $22.4 million. For 2017 to 2018, the total estimate increased to $25.4 million.

As Nauru’s largest donor, Australia aims to promote security and prosperity in the Pacific area. It has an ongoing objective of developing Nauru as a fiscally responsible and stable government, including necessary infrastructure services. It also aims to assist with human development.

Results of Australia’s aid program include establishing the Intergenerational Trust of the people of Nauru and introducing the taxation system successfully. It contributed to maintaining primary school enrollment at 100 percent since 2013-2014.

Furthermore, the aid program worked to broaden roles for women in leadership while addressing domestic violence and reaching 100 percent coverage rate of vaccines for newborns against tuberculosis and hepatitis B.

Aid From New Zealand

From 2016 to 2017 New Zealand gave $1.7 million in humanitarian aid to Nauru. New Zealand aid projects focus on investing in skill development and education. Its goal is to create an able workforce and strengthen the justice system in Nauru.

Recent achievements include building a Legal Aid Office that has refined the efficiency of the courts, legal representation and increased residents’ knowledge about their equal rights. A skill course was also created for court clerks to improve the quality of paralegal representation.

In addition, correctional officers received conduct, discipline and human rights training. As a result, there were managerial improvements in many prisons.

The aid provided by New Zealand for education improved enrolment rates for secondary schools to 79.8 percent. In addition, the number of teachers obtaining a certificate, diploma or degree is up by 40 percent since 2005.

Thanks to these two countries, Nauru can continue to develop and prosper. Although poor health and education difficulties persist, the government, with the help of humanitarian aid to Nauru, is working to alleviate the problems its citizens face.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in Nauru

Infrastructure in Nauru is insufficient based on its citizen’s necessities. Isolated in the Pacific Ocean, Nauruans suffer water shortages and energy uncertainty, as power is supplied by diesel generators. New projects aim to reverse this situation, but antiquated facilities still remain.

The Island Ring is Nauru’s main road system. It circles the entire country, shaping the island’s form with 17 concrete kilometers. This is the principal ground transportation infrastructure in the world’s smallest republic.

Nauru has one international airport, built-in 1943 during the Japanese occupation in World War II. It operates with Naura Airlines, which has two air crafts and one all-cargo airplane. The airline flies to various Central and South Pacific islands.

Phosphate mine exploitation is the biggest economic activity on the island. In order to transport the mineral, a four kilometer railway was built in 1907. The train stopped operating in 2011, when the phosphate industry declined dramatically in Nauru. The government estimates that its phosphate deposits have a remaining life of about 30 years, according to BBC.

The energy infrastructure in Nauru is also not reliable. It has a limited capacity due to the nation’s reliance on diesel generators. However, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union have implemented the Nauru Electricity Supply Security and Sustainability Project which includes a new medium-speed 2.6-3.o megawatt diesel generator.

The Australian government also supports the island. With the Nauru Infrastructure and Essential Services Initiative, Australia has provided around $8.3 million in order to improve Nauru’s infrastructure. Thanks to this initiative, Nauru received the installation of a second power generator, and the Hospital Redevelopment Project was completed in February 2017.

Refugees who seek to get into Australia by boat are sent to Nauru’s asylum camp, an offshore retention settlement. Several news articles report that the situation in the camp is difficult since water supply is short and refugees do not have access to basic needs. The island does not have a reliable source of water, as it is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and has no rivers or lakes.

The only current solutions to the lack of water are desalination plants, which are expensive, and rainwater storage systems. Even though four small plants operate on the island, the desalination process is insufficient and negatively affects Nauru’s environment. To resolve this problem, Nauru’s government, assisted by external investment, planned the installation of a solar PV system and a new desalination plant. This project is expected to produce up to 100 cubic meters of safe water per day.

Infrastructure in Nauru may be obsolete in certain sectors, but the government is working to improve it. Energy and water infrastructure is getting better thanks to the investment of international organizations. The next years will be crucial for the island as the first results from improvement projects begin to appear.

-Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Nauru

Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Nauru struggles to find secure potable water sources. The island has no rivers and the groundwater is limited due to increasing salinity and contamination, problems that make rainwater collection and desalination plants the only reliable sources of water for almost 10,000 Nauruans. As a result, the water quality in Nauru has suffered.

Utilizing Rainwater

People in Nauru can take advantage of rainwater thanks to a system installed on the roofs of domestic and commercial buildings. A structure of tubes directs rain towards a small tank in which Nauruans store water, which can later be used for drinking and cooking.

However, between rainy seasons groundwater is the major source of water on the island. Unfortunately, the low water quality in Nauru means that groundwater is clean in few areas.

In the remaining areas, groundwater quality in Nauru is affected by wastewater disposal from houses, shops, commercial buildings and the refugee camp. In addition, some zones have an increasing salinity rate, which makes the water inadequate for human usage.

To resolve this problem, Nauru’s administration launched an expansion of the national water storage capacity in order to improve the water supply. The project consists of building more water tanks which will prevent water shortage during periods of drought. This solution also protects the environment since the desalination plants are energy-intensive and use fossil fuels for power.

Desalination Plants

Nauru’s secondary source of water are the four desalination plants throughout the island. However, the desalination plants require high quantities of energy for power. The desalination process is also expensive and affects the beach environment.

In 2014, water quality in Nauru took a remarkable turn with the development of a project by the Nauruan government to install a solar PV system and desalination plant. It is expected that this project could produce 100 cubic meters of safe water per day. In addition, the PV system will generate 1.3 percent of the energy demand in the island, doubling the existing energy production of solar energy. With these advantages, the project would also reduce water delivery to only three weeks.

Refugee camp

Nauru has a refugee camp that holds about 400 refugees that tried to enter Australia by boat. This camp requires water and other basic necessities such as shelter, food and clothes. As a result, when people in Nauru face water shortage, refugees also experience the same difficulty.

The camp often faces water shortages, resulting in serious water restrictions.

The PV system desalination plant and the new storage tanks that the Nauruan government is planning to implement are good solutions to addressing water quality and supply in Nauru for both citizens and refugees alike.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in Nauru: Aid for Asylum Seekers

Nauru is the smallest republic in the world. The island located in the South Pacific has just 10,000 citizens. It has two main income sources: phosphate mines, which have been exploited over the years, and a detention camp that has become home to hundreds of refugees that tried to find asylum in Australia.

The process is simple: asylum seekers who attempt to reach Australia by boat are sent directly to Nauru‘s detention camp. Recently, several publications have denounced the violence and the lack of human rights protections that the refugees experience in the camp. How to help people in Nauru has turned into a two-pronged topic, one for the asylum seekers and one for the Nauruans.

The MV Tampa Policy

The refugee landscape in Nauru was shaped by Australia, one of the most developed countries in the world. In 2001, after a freighter with 400 Afghan Hazara refugees was refused entry into Australian territory, Nauru became an offshore detention center.

That event led the Australian government to create a public policy called MV Tampa. In brief, this policy states that no person who arrives in the country by boat seeking asylum should settle in Australia. Instead, they are sent to Nauru or to Papua New Guinea in exchange for monetary aid.

That problem was resolved in 2007, when most of the refugees found accommodation in other countries. But in 2012, the issue arose again, when a number of news articles published information about the terrible conditions that refugees experienced in the camp. Since then, more refugees have been sent to the island.

The United Nations addressed the crisis in Nauru in 2016. “We are extremely concerned about the serious allegations of violence, sexual assault, degrading treatment and self-harm contained in more than 1,000 incident reports from offshore processing centres on Nauru, many of which reportedly involved children,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Good News for Refugees

This September, good news traveled to Nauru: about 50 refugees were accepted for resettlement in the United States. In addition, diverse organizations also support the island refugees’ cause. How to help people in Nauru has become a question that has found some answers.

After several reports detailing the human rights violations against refugees in Nauru, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch pushed to provide aid to asylum seekers. One important action they took last year was to force international Health and Medical Services to provide healthcare to the children and women in the camp. In addition, they fought to end the violence and sexual harassment taking place there. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also demanded the closure of the offshore processing facility and called for the immediate transfer of refugees out of the detention camp.

Local organizations like Refugee Council of Australia and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre are working to bring refugees better living conditions. In addition to assisting with health, legal, and education aid for the asylum seekers, these foundations have also developed a job training program for the refugees, a project that has empowered people in the detention camp. If you have wondered how to help people in Nauru, you can donate money to these organizations.

However, on the island, Nauruans face an elevated unemployment rate. According to the U.N., 23% of people are unemployed, a number directly related to the imminent extinction of the phosphate mines. It is expected that extraction of the mineral will be able to continue for only 30 more years.

How to help people in Nauru, or how to help refugees on the island and the people of the island, is a complex question involving various nations, but organizations efforts are getting significant results. The next months will be crucial in the resolution of the refugee crisis.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr