Palau under a state of emergency following super typhoon Haiyan
Palau under a state of emergency following super typhoon Haiyan.
Palau's president Tommy Remengesau has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the devastation left by super typhoon Haiyan.
Hundreds of people are now living in temporary accommodation in the capital Koror after their homes were destroyed by the typhoon last week.
The first assistant to the President, Keobel Sakuma, says all of the northern states were hit by Haiyan, which had winds of over 300 kilometres an hour.
But he told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor the northernmost island of Kayangel sustained the most damage.
KEOBEL SAKUMA: The eyewall of the storm passed directly over Kayangel and reports from the residents there were that they actually experienced about a 20-minute lull in the storm as the eye passed over them. And satellite recordings had wind speeds, gusts, of over 160 miles an hour. As you know, Kayangel is an atoll. I think the highest point in Kayangel is only 20 feet above sea level. So most of the structures there are wood structures. Some have concrete walls. The day after the storm the president and I visited the island and it was a total loss, utter destruction - trees and houses and structures just blown to the ground. There were 69 people there when the storm struck and all 69 were accounted for. Evacuation started immediately after.
MOERA TUILAEPA TAYLOR: I know that Kayangel was the most impacted by the storm. Were there any other places in Palau affected by Haiyan, as well?
KS: Oh, sure. All the northern states, all those villages, were heavily impacted. Many houses lost their roofs, they were without electricity for quite a while and some remote villages are still without electricity and water. I received reports that a power company Palau Public Utilities Corporation, PPUC, has restored 80% of the power for most of the country, but repairs are still ongoing.
MTT: And looking at a long-term recovery?
KS: The relief efforts have begun. What we've done here in Palau is the president has declared a state of emergency. He's also signed a bill that's going to the Congress to appropriate $1.5 million of immediate funding for the recovery efforts from the local revenue and the general fund. That's pretty much what we can afford to start the recovery efforts and we're hoping for help from outside organisations like the United Nations, charities and many of our partner nations in the UN. So that's the process right now that we're going through, is contacting people - the US, Taiwan, Japan - and asking for any type of assistance possible.
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