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

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

Typhoon Recovery To Cost Palau Up To $20 Million
Most utilities functioning, displaced residents returning to homes

By Armando Cordoba

HAGTA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 12, 2012) – Palau's rebuilding efforts are going to cost an estimated total of $15 to $20 million after Typhoon Bopha.

Patrick Tellei, the executive director of the Bopha Catastrophe Relief Committee, said the major cost the island is going to face is rebuilding the homes and buildings that were damaged or destroyed by the typhoon.

Currently, 80 of the estimated 200 people who were sheltered at local schools and office buildings are returning to their homes as sewage and water systems come back online. This decreases the number of shelters from five to four.

The east coast of Babeldaob, including the village states of Ngaraard, Ngiwal, Melekeok and Ngchesar and the southern islands of Peleliu and Angaur were hit the hardest, according to the committee.

Ngiwal, Peleliu and Ngaraard are three states on the island of Babeldaob that are still without power. Of the 30 water systems in Palau, 95 percent have been restored and are fully functioning. [PIR editor's note: As noted in the previous paragraph, Peleliu State is not located on Palau's large island of Babeldaob but is a separate island southwest of Koror Island.]

"Telecommunications are also back to 95-percent capacity and electricity is back to 90-percent capacity," Tellei said.

Water systems are currently being tested by the Palau Quality Environmental Protection Board to ensure that no contamination has entered into the water system on Palau.

Reports from Palau indicate that power lines are being cleared by public utilities workers and locals are helping to clear the roads of debris in villages.

Palau Public Utilities Corporations has restored electricity in Koror except for a few pocket areas. Babeldaob and Angaur's electricity has been fully restored, but Melekeok, Ngiwal, Ngaraard and Peleliu still do not have electricity due to major damage to power lines, according to the relief committee.

"The power plant in Peleliu is operational and services should be restored by the end of Tuesday," Tellei said.

There also were reports of eight large coral masses that were driven up and piled onto the reef around the island. These new reef masses were big enough to fit a "small hut" on them, according to Tellei.

The Bopha Relief Committee is currently working with contractors in Palau to help people rebuild their homes. Donations are being sought for the recovery process.

Palau has received a USAID grant of $100,000 and Bank of Guam donated $25,000 toward the effort.

The Rotary Club of Palau, District 2750, has joined the relief effort and is accepting contributions toward the purchase of much-needed supplies.

Donations can be made directly to the Rotary Club of Palau or deposited into the club's Typhoon Bopha Relief Account at any Bank of Hawaii branch on Guam, Saipan or Palau.

"We need as much help as we can get. We're asking for people to donate money towards our rebuilding efforts," Tellei said.

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