Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Palau Declares State Of Emergency In Wake Of Typhoon
Despite significant damages, no loss of life reported yet

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Dec. 4, 2012) – President Toribiong yesterday declared the State of Emergency after typhoon Bopha hit Palau and severely destroyed houses near the coasts in Ngiwal, Ngaraard, Melekeok and southwest islands including Peleliu and Angaur.

Some 350 people from Ngaraard, Ngiwal and Melekeok are staying at the Capitol as typhoon destroyed their houses. Bank of Guam yesterday brought $1,000 worth of food and water at the temporary typhoon shelter.

Melekeok Del. Lentcer Basilius disclosed that at least 10 houses in Melekeok were severely damaged. In addition, there is no water and no power.

As of this writing, the National Emergency Committee (NEC) is still assessing damages caused by typhoon Bopha in Peleliu and Angaur.

The NEC team, together with Angaur Gov. Maria Gates Meltel, went via helicopter yesterday afternoon to the southwest islands to assess the situation there after the typhoon as well as to bring supplies for the residents.

Reports reaching Island Times said six houses in Angaur are no longer livable after being hit by the typhoon. In Peleliu, there were reportedly several houses also that were severely damaged. The roads in Angaur and Peleliu were reportedly covered with fallen trees and other debris.

Toribiong met with local leaders including High Chief Reklai Raphael Ngirmang, High Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons, Vice President Kerai Mariur, Senate President Mlib Tmetuchl, Senate Vice President Kathy Kesolei, House Vice Speaker Alexander Merep prior to the declaration of the State of Emergency yesterday morning. Toribiong said the leaders backed him in declaring the State of Emergency.

"While thankfully there was no reported loss of life, the winds and storm surge accompanying typhoon Bopha completely destroyed several residences and significantly damaged many others, causing scores of people to be rendered homeless for the foreseeable future," the president stated in his declaration.

Toribiong said that in some areas, the storm surge pushed ocean water several hundred feet inland, cutting and destroying some roads and covering other with several feet of coral rock and sand. He said crops were also damaged, having been blown down or as a result of their being inundated by ocean water.

Photos shared by OTV to Island Times showed severely damaged houses in Ngiwal, Ngeklau and Melekeok, some were even moved to the middle of the road.

As the wind began to get stronger Sunday evening, power lines throughout Palau went off.

After the typhoon left Palau’s area of responsibility, the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) said their personnel are working hard to restore power back to normal. Power in Koror was restored yesterday. For Babeldaob states, power remains off as of this writing.

National Weather Service Staff Meteorologist Kikuko Mochimaru yesterday said that typhoon Bopha had changed track from what was forecasted earlier.

Mochimaru said that earlier, the center of the typhoon was expected to hit northern part of Palau. Later on it was forecasted to hit the center of Babeldaob. Then it moved toward the south.

About midnight Sunday, Mochimaru said the eye of the typhoon was located south of Angaur. The National Weather Service however cannot provide the measure of the wind at the center of the typhoon. But at the same time in Koror, the blast of wind according to Mochimaru was recorded at 71 miles per hour.

Island Times: www.islandtimes.us
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