TONGA'S NIUAFO'OU ISLAND FACES WATER SHORTAGE

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NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (May 24, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The people of Niuafo'ou, Tonga's northernmost island, face the possibility of a total lack of potable water.

Officials say if the drought continues for another week, the islanders will run out water that is safe to drink.

Radio Tonga's correspondent on the island, Sela Talifolau, reports that water in concrete tanks is running low and coconuts, the source of an alternative drink during dry spells, were wiped out by Cyclone Ron early this year.

Sela also notes that islanders have started using water from an inland lake for various domestic purposes, other than drinking.

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