Palau Correspondent

Typhoon Surigae caused significant and lasting damage to Palau’s states.
Photo by Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau — The states of Palau are counting the cost of Typhoon Surigae which made landfall on April 16 and swept through the country, leaving many people with damaged houses and without electricity and power.

According to the Initial Damage Assessment issued by the National Emergency Committee on April 26, damage to essential resources is estimated at $4.8 million, and overall damage is expected to increase as the committee completes a comprehensive report.

President Surangel Whipps Jr. also announced monetary aid to those devastated by the typhoon.

Typhoon Surigae’s damage to infrastructure and public utilities reached an estimated $4.8 million, according to the Immediate and Near-term Response Plan submitted by NEC.

The typhoon’s veer to Palau surprised many as it wreaked havoc across the sectors of health, infrastructures, education, food security, community, residential dwellings, communications, and utilities.

“Most homes, public infrastructures, and vegetation were destroyed or severely damaged in various states. Livelihoods were disrupted, communications and utilities shut down, numerous families were evacuated to various shelters,’ the report said.

 Some 150 homes were destroyed, while 1,000 homes sustaining minor to major damages.

The emergency committee said immediate assistance will be given to households that are damaged and the population with compromised public services such as electricity and water.

More than 300 people were evacuated to schools, in addition to the community centers and state offices, the report said.

“No lives were lost; however, with such destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges, several states were significantly affected,” the report said.

Schools were also damaged, but systems – the Palau Public Utilities Corp. and the Palau National Communications Corp. sustained damages to their equipment and materials.

Help poured into Palau.

Taiwan donated $1 million to aid repair of damaged facilities.  President Surangel Whipps said the donation will help “support the improvement of damaged infrastructure in order to restore and revitalize local tourism.” He said, “The pandemic left Palau financially strained, but through the generosity of one of our biggest partners — Taiwan — Palau is expecting a full-speed recovery ahead. Reparation of damaged infrastructure and resumption of tourism will generate revenue to fuel the local economy, thus enabling our government to provide for our people’s needs and enabling our communities to provide a better experience for our tourists,’ the statement added.

The United States provided $100,000 in aid, while the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam delivered emergency supplies including water and food to the island of Kayangel on April 23. (See “Corporate Giving” on Page 8.)  The Australian government donated $50,000 for maintenance of evacuation centers and funding of assessment.

NEC  said it continues to distribute much-needed items to the State Governors to aid the citizens within the 16 State Governments who were affected by the typhoon.

In a press statement, Vice President J. Uduch Senior, who heads the NEC said that the donated items  included 10 generators (2.2 KVAs) to be distributed to the 10 States who were most affected by Typhoon Surigae,

Part of the help was providing portable water filters, water containers that will be distributed equally to the outlying states whose water

capacity is low at this time.

Ms. Senior said these items donated by the government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are worth over $50,000.

“Palau expresses its deep appreciation for Japan’s prompt assistance” to aid Palau in this great time of need,” she said. mbj