The WE Rotary Club of International Peace is in partnership with the Rotary Club of South Hilo to support the Marshallese Water Truck Project.
Past President Steve Leeper brought this project to our club about 2019 and we found it worthy of our support.
We are a part of helping get fresh, clean water to this community of people who have been so horribly impacted by nuclear testing in their home Marshall Islands.
Marshall Islands Oceanview Community by David Anitok, community organizer:
To properly understand our current and future migration patterns, one must also understand the history of the RMI’s relationship with the United States, starting with the RMI’s transition from a Trust Territory of the U.S. to an independent nation. This change of status took place without the necessary economic preparation and establishment of requisite and proper healthcare and educational systems, and the resulting lack of proper healthcare, substandard education, and limited job opportunities continue to drive out- migration. For example, the RMI has some of the highest diabetes rates in the Pacific, but the hospital system lacks proper dialysis equipment, forcing many Marshallese abroad.
The legacy of nuclear testing conducted by the United States continues to influence migration across the islands and the health of our people. After World War II and before the Compact of Free Association was enacted, the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons on Bikini and Enewetak atolls. Those tests destroyed our islands and ecosystems and had disastrous impacts on the health of our people. Marshallese from these nuclear affected islands were displaced within the Marshall Islands, and are still displaced 70 years later due to high levels of radiation on those islands. Understanding that their islands will never be restored to pre-nuclear testing conditions, many members from those islands in particular have emigrated to seek better lives. For example, a community of Enewetak islanders—the islands that house the Runit nuclear waste known for its cracked dome—currently reside on Big Island in Hawai’i. While our family does not come from the four islands the U.S. deems nuclear-affected, the elders in our family passed away from nuclear-related cancers long ago. No Marshallese citizen, regardless of where they reside in the RMI, is untouched by this legacy.
Steve Yoshida, We Rotary of International Peace Marshall Island Projects chair:
Families from Enewetok migrated to Ocean View on the Big Island – a barren volcanic area with no water or electricity services. We serve the community with food, clothing and an occasional wild pig.
We are honored to work with community leaders, Uncle Jonithen (the founder), David Anitok (community organizer) and Lucinda Anitok-Brokken (social worker). Photos: Steve and Uncle Jonithen, Advid, Lucinda Steve, Noko.
1st Project: Water and Gas Distribution
2nd Project: Off grid solar panels and battery backup
Community Outreach: youth cultural and Marshallese language training.
OCEAN VIEW MARSHALLESE SERVED BY THE NUMBERS TOTAL Impact:
- 1316 Individuals
- 188 FamilyOcean View
- 7 members average per family
- TOTAL Property Leased: 47
- 4 multi-generational family per household
- 40 property uses gas power generators
- 7 powered by county
- 38 properties use 300 to 900 gallons of water tank
- 9 use 4,000 to 6,000 gallons of water