Marshall Islands

Mass tuberculosis and leprosy screening in Marshalls

In 2013 the World Health Organisation reported the Marshalls had the second highest prevalence of TB in the world, 100 times higher than the US mainland.

It is also one of the few countries in the world still dealing with leprosy.

RNZ Pacific reports a new Ministry of Health screening programme which will run until September aims to cover the capital, Majuro, following a successful screening initiative on the island of Ebeye.

The biggest challenge once screening has been conducted will be getting people to complete their treatments.

Hawaii 'vog' blankets Marshall Islands

United States weather officials on Guam issued a special weather update on Sunday about the "haze plume" that is expected to continue moving westward through the Federated States of Micronesia.

Hawaii residents refer to the haze caused by volcanic eruptions on the Big Island as "vog," a phenomenon now being experienced in the Marshall Islands, more than 2,300 miles to the southwest of the Hawaiian Islands.

The volcano in Hawaii is now in its fourth week of continuous eruptions.

Supermoon tides spare Marshall Islands

RNZ's correspondent Giff Johnson said there has been some debris thrown up from the sea onto roads in the low lying atolls this week but no more than usual.

He said people are likely to be more concerned and on alert next month as king tides traditionally peak and are more common in January and February.

Mr Johnson said the Marshall Islands are relatively unaffected for now.

Files from four Pacific registries in Paradise Papers

The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains more than 13.4 million documents mostly from the offshore law firm Appleby.

The papers also contained details from the corporate registries of the Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu as well as 15 other registries, mostly in the Caribbean.

The papers covered the period from 1950 to 2016.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is investigating the files along with a network of journalists around the world.

Marshall Islands hearing programme praised

Following a recent visit to Ebeye and Majuro, Marcus Gaffney, the team leader from CDC's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) section and Eric Cahill, a health scientist also with CDC, joined audiologist Ray Miner for the visit to both islands, where they engaged with EHDI Coordinator Chinilla Pedro and hospital staff providing the services for babies and children.

Marshalls still to decide on UN nuke ban treaty

Tim Wright, the Asia Pacific Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said that the island countries that have said they would sign the treaty this week include Palau, Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine said her government was still considering whether to sign the treaty.

Tributes continue to pour in for the late Tony de Brum

The country’s President Hilda Heine issued a statement in Majuro today lamenting the untimely passing away of a Pacific Islands ‘legend’ who fought for climate change & nuclear justice.

“He fought for our independence, he fought against the tyranny of nuclear weapons and for nuclear justice for our people and he led the international fight against climate change.

“The very existence of the Paris Agreement owes a lot to Tony de Brum. He was a giant in history, a legend in every meaning of the word and a custodian of our shared future, said President Heine.

Marshalls deals with mumps outbreak

The outbreak occurred over the last few months and by mid-week, the Ministry of Health reported over 250 cases.

The Ministry is tracking cases, with 17 schools around Majuro reporting students having mumps.

The acute viral disease commonly affects children and is spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson said people who contract mumps were being urged to stay home.

More protection orders in Marshalls

Two new temporary protection orders issued at the end of March bring the total to seven in just the first three months of 2017.

This compares to 12 orders granted in response to domestic violence situations in 2016, and 10 the previous year.

Our correspondent reports that although 29 women have received help from the High Court for domestic violence since 2015, no criminal cases have been brought against the perpetrators.


Photo: RNZI/Giff Johnson Majuro Atoll which houses more than half of the Marshall Islands population 

Marshalls pushes shipping industry for carbon target

The Marshall Islands has one of the world's three biggest shipping registries, but is also one of the countries most vulnerable to the threat of sea-level rise created by global warming

Shipping and aviation are the only two sectors not covered by the 2015 UN Paris Agreement on climate change, which sought to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.