MARSHALLS SURVEY SHOWS PUBLIC BUILDINGS GOING TO POT

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By Aenet Rowa

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe Online, Aug. 20) – The first
extensive survey of public buildings in the Marshall Islands was released this
week, indicating that more than $60 million in maintenance will be needed over
the next 20 years.

According to Carl Hacker, Director of the Republic of the
Marshall Islands Economic Policy, Planning and Statistics Office (EPPSO),
information is now available on every structure, including its condition and
what it is going to take to "get the job done" in infrastructure
improvement and maintenance.

The report concluded that the majority of the 246 public
buildings in the Marshalls are in poor condition.

The total 20 year maintenance expenditure forecast for existing
buildings is US$ 62.8 million (excluding any structural repairs), which includes
a backlog expenditure of US$ 34.7 million resulting from insufficient
maintenance in previous years. Approximately US$ 1.7 million per annum will be
required to maintain the existing assets in good condition once the backlog is
cleared.

If the 49 buildings on the inner and outer islands, which were
visually assessed to be in very poor structural condition and earmarked for
demolition, were demolished, the total 20 year building maintenance forecast
reduces to US$55.4 million.

The IDMP concluded that a decision needed to be made as to
whether these assets in very poor structural condition should be structurally
repaired and maintained, or demolished and replaced.

Beca International Consultants Ltd (BICL) was commissioned to
prepare an Infrastructure Development and Maintenance Plan (IDMP) for the
Marshall Islands assets. Assessment and maintenance plan for the next 20 years
were made of RMI schools, hospitals, health centers, airport, airstrips, solid
wastewater, and supply wastewater facilities.

Education and Health Sector assets included 78 Elementary
Schools, 2 High Schools, 65 Health Centers, and 2 Hospitals. The IDMP found that
25 schools and 4 health facilities were in poor structural condition. For those
buildings, it could be more economic to replace the buildings rather than
continue to spend money on maintenance.

Until the August 2003 assessment, the RMI Ministries of Health
and Education had little existing information about the buildings and had no
lists of furniture used in the classrooms. Buildings on the outer islands had
not been inspected recently and were assumed to be in poor condition. The
Ministry also noted that existing buildings might not be providing a good
classroom environment because they are hot and dark.

The Ministry of Health indicated that many of its health centers
(dispensaries) were relatively new and have been developed in accordance with
one of five standard designs, and the main concern with the health centers was
the limitations of the potable water systems and the lack of power to run
refrigerators.

The majority of existing education and health building elements
are in poor condition said the report. The total 20 year maintenance expenditure
forecast for existing buildings is US$ 62.8M (excluding any structural repairs).

Forty-nine buildings on the inner (Ailinglaplap, Jabat,
Kwajalein, Lib, Namu Arno, Mili,Ebon, Jaluit, Kili, Namorik) and outer (Ailuk,
Aur, Likiep, Maloep, Mejit, Utrik, Wotje, Enewetak, Lae, Ujae, Wotho) islands
were visually assessed to be in very poor structural condition and earmarked for
demolition.

August 21, 2003

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