ONLY WATER TRUCK ON KIRIBATI'S BANABA ISLAND SET ON FIRE

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TARAWA, Kiribati (November 2, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The people of Kiribati's remote and once phosphate-rich Banaba Island --also known as Ocean Island-- are now having to walk the very rugged and hilly island landscape to get water.

Last week, the truck used for delivering fresh water from catchments to the doorsteps of homes --Banaba's only water truck-- was set on fire.

No one has been charged in the incident, Radio Kiribati reports, but there has been an outcry from the small but scattered Banaba Island population. Water is scarce and the islanders depends only on rainwater stored in large water catchments around the island.

Formerly a supplier of phosphate to world markets, Banaba's mining operations closed in 1979 when the easily available supply ran out.

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