Typhoon Bopha Update: Palau Begins Arduous Task of Rebuilding


Guam – Palau President Toribiong’s Press Secretary Fermin Meriang has issued the following new release on the Typhoon Bopha recovery efforts.

READ the release from the Government of Palau below:

KOROR, Palau – Ten days after Super Typhoon Bopha swept through Palau with its destructive winds, significant recovery progress have been made under the direction of the Bopha Catastrophe Relief Committee headed by Coordinator Dr. Patrick Tellei.

The main power lines in Koror, Airai and Babeldaob are now fully restored even though isolated pockets remain without power in the commercial center due to downed power lines.

In Peleliu, the power plant is operational but distribution still needs work as many wires remain under fallen branches, trees and other debris.

“A full crew comprising of personnel from the Palau Public Utilities Corporation, Public Works, CAT and local people have been working since Friday in Peleliu to free up the lines. Fortunately there was no damage to the power plant and power should be restored soon,” Dr. Tellei said.

Angaur’s power has been restored. With its power lines underground, the southern state suffered minor damage to its electrical infrastructure.

Water is now available in all states; however, the committee encourages everyone to exercise conservation measures and rationing as tanks need to filled, particularly those serving more populated areas like Koror and Airai.

Additionally, for states under advisory from Public Health and the Environmental Quality Protection Board, residents are urged to boil water before drinking until further notice from EQPB. The EQPB office at the Public Works compound has had its roof repaired and is back to normal operations.

According to General Manager Richard Misech, PNCC maintained communications connectivity to the outside world throughout the storm, even when the Super Typhoon Bopha was at its closest point of approach to Palau.  However, land line infrastructure to Ngiwal and Melekeok were heavily damaged and remain under rehabilitation. PNCC has already brought a new fiber optic cable to the area and Misech reported they hope to restore full land line capacity within the next few days. In the meantime, cell phone service is already restored and callers are advised to contact areas residents through their mobile numbers until the land lines are back in service.

Furthermore, all schools in the country resumed classes on Monday. Classes at Melekeok, Ngaraard and Peleliu Elementary Schools hold half day sessions due to power and water issues. For Bethania High School, the only girls’ secondary institution in Palau, students have been relocated to Emmaus High School where they are housed and attend classes at Palau Community College. Much of Bethania suffered extensive damage from Typhoon Bopha and will have to be rebuilt.

A contract to repair damages to Ngaraard Elementary School was issued on Wednesday and work is expected to be completed within 30 days.

In the meantime, the Bureau of Agriculture, the Palau Visitors Authority, the Bureau of Marine Resources, the Palau International Coral Reef Center and state governors will meet next Tuesday to provide their assessment of farms, food security, long term mitigation of damaged crops, farms, taro patches, impact of the typhoon on the tourism industry, the fisheries sector, status of reefs and repairs to the states, respectively.

Also, housing contracts are being finalized and should be awarded in the next few days.

Forty-five (45) shelters were opened before the onslaught of Super Typhoon Bopha. Of that number, only five remain: Ngiwal Elementary School, Bai era Tuich, Bai era Ulimang, Bai era Ngkeklau (all in Ngaraard) and Bai era Ngerubesang in Melekeok. Also, a few individuals are sheltered in private homes.

Finally, the committee reminds all donors and the public that the Palau Red Cross Society is the focal point for all humanitarian assistance to victims of Super Typhoon Bopha.

On the evening of December 2-3, Typhoon Bopha swept through the Republic of Palau packing destructive winds that inflicted heavy damage across the country. Particularly hard hit were the eastern Babeldaob states of Ngaraard, Ngiwal, Melekeok and Ngchesar. Also devastated were the southern states of Peleliu and Angaur. These states sustained extensive damages from ocean surges that came with the typhoon.

For information on Super Typhoon Bopha relief efforts, please call (680) 488-4411.