Palau Issues State of Emergency After Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan swept through the State of Yap causing minimal damage, but devastates Palau. President Remengesau of Palau declared a National State of Emergency. Koror and Babeldaob were heavily hit, the State of Kayangel reported "complete devastation".

Damages to Yap were nothing "very serious". Most of the concern was for the outer-island atolls, which sustained infrastructure damages, vegetation damages, and flooding. 

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Palau on the other hand experienced the devastation of a super-typhoon. As Haiyan was leaving Yap it quickly formed into a category 5 super-typhoon, with winds up to 150 mph. In Palau, Haiyan reached winds exceeding 175 mph and quickly grew to 200 mph.

The National Emergency Committee in Palau released an assessment of the damages:

  1. The State of Kayangel has suffered total destruction including almost all residences and public facilities being destroyed.
  2. The state is experiencing full loss of power and water.
  3. The state has standing sea water over a substantial portion of the island from the storm surges.
  4. Kayangel has experienced a 100 percent loss of subsistence farming including but not limited to fruit trees and taro.
  5. Koror and Babeldaob have experienced and continue to experience power outages, water deliver failures and sewage treatment issues.
  6. Koror and Babeldaob have sustained substantial property damage.
  7. Many roads on Koror and Babeldaob are blocked by debris making accessibility to homes and outlying health centers difficult.
  8. Koror and Babeldaob have sustained 50 percent loss of subsistence farming including but not limited to fruit trees and taro.
  9. Koror jail has sustained damage to one roof which threatens the safety and security of the jail.
  10. The States of Peleliu and Angaur have sustained less damage according to early reports, however, the airports on each have debris that must be removed in order to allow for safe travel. Further assessment of these states is necessary.
  11. The disruption of water, power and sewer services may pose a significant health and safety risk to the residents and visitors of the Republic.

 

 

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In comparison, typhoon Bopha which hit Palau and the Philippines last year, recorded 170 mph winds. Both Bopha and Haiyan are considered two of the "most powerful [super-typhoons] ever recorded anywhere".

Researchers and scientists are worried that these events will continue to occur more frequently, considering the rapidity of climate change.

Will this become the norm for Pacific nations?  

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Sources:
1. Guam Pacific Daily News. Yap escapes direct hit from supertyphoon
2. Pacific Islands Report. State of Emergency Declared In Palau Following Super Typhoon Haiyan.
3. The Guardian. Typhoon Haiyan: what really alarms Filipinos is the rich world ignoring climate change.
4. The Fourth Branch. Climate Change 2013.