Quick Facts

  • Formerly the Ellice Islands
  • Separated from the Gilbert Islands in 1974. In 1975, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu and gained independence on October 1, 1978.
  • Location: Oceania, an island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about half of the way from Hawaii to Australia. One of the smallest and remote countries in the world
  • Area: 10 sq. miles
  • Population: 10,869
  • Capital: Funafuti (pop. 6,000)
  • Climate: tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March-Nov.), westerly gales and heavy rain (Nov.-March)
  • Terrain: low lying and narrow coral atolls
  • Environment: water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage systems
  • Nationality: Tuvaluans
  • Major ethnic groups: Polynesian
  • Official languages: Tuvaluan), English
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Economy: Dependent on imports of food and fuel. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • A parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
  • Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952), represented by Governor General Iakoba Taeia Italeli (since 2010) – appointed by the monarchy on recommendation of the prime minister
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga (since 2013) – elected by parliament. The members of parliament are elected by popular vote.

Healthcare Statistics

  • Infant mortality rate: 30.8/1,000
  • Life expectancy: 66.16 years
  • Health expenditures: 19.7% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 1.09 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 5.6 beds/1,000 population
  • Children under the age of 5 underweight: 1.6%
  • Infectious disease updates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

    Field Stories

    Translators in the Field: Providing aid in many countries will require translators. Often your group is fortunate to have one or several individuals who speak the native dialect. This is a definite plus. A couple points to be aware of with the use of translators: You may notice, as I often have, when using translators […]


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