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International Relief Organizations and Development Partners Respond to Palau’s Drought Emergency

Development partners, friends and international relief organizations are extending assistance to Palau as water supply levels remain low and insufficient to meet daily demands.

The government of Japan on April 8 handed over water purifiers, jerry cans and water tanks that will be utilized in “the most affected areas where water doesn’t reach through transmission systems” said Olkeriil Kazuo, Press Secretary and Public Information Officer for the National Emergency Committee (NEC).

One of the several 1,000 -gallon bladders donated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is used to set up water stations in Koror and Airai. Photo by Bernadette H. Carreon

Republic of China, Palau’s other strong partner and ally, is set to provide direct air shipment of 7 tons of drinking water this week.

Assisting the Palau Red Cross Society with relief to vulnerable community members, the Palau Community Association of Guam (PCAG) is preparing shipment of a 20-foot container of drinking water.

Other options for water supply are being considered. "Discussions with several bilateral partners, including the United States military, that may be able to lend Palau portable water systems to ensure provision of portable water for the people of Palau", stated NEC in its "Immediate and Near-Term Drought Response Plan" report.

The Israeli government's commitment of two reverse osmosis units, a system that converts seawater or brackish water to drinking water, secures additional water source options.

The two units, according to the report, are expected to arrive in May.

On the ground, companies such as United Airlines are extending assistance with a donation of 500 heavy plastic bags to be used as liners for makeshift water storage tanks.

Fire trucks and Koror State Government trucks have also been utilized to deliver water to areas of need.

Despite worsening conditions and low water levels in Ngerikiil River, the lone functioning water source for Airai and Koror States, the NEC is confident aid from partners and friends will help ensure that Palau won’t run out of water.

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