The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is pleased to announce an award of $300,000 in emergency maintenance assistance program funding to the Government of the Republic of Palau to augment U.S. Government support for disaster recovery efforts in Palau following the impacts of Typhoon Surigae on April 16, 2021.
“The OIA team is pleased to provide this emergency assistance to support the President and the people of Palau as they continue to build back and recover from the impacts of Typhoon Surigae,” said Nikolao Pula, Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs. “We are pleased to help provide support to the people of Palau, along with our other federal partners and in support of our bilateral relationship.”
“With Typhoon Surigae damaging over 1,000 homes, the USG continues to support our ally, Palau, with timely funding for communities to rehabilitate homes, schools, and especially healthcare facilities that are making vaccination progress on the fight against COVID-19,” said U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland.
The funds will be used to rehabilitate and repair schools and health-care facilities that were damaged by Typhoon Surigae to include roofs, walkways, water tanks and pumps, windows, signage, and other related equipment.
While no lives were lost, the slow movement of Surigae combined with winds up to 75 miles per hour, heavy rainfall, and significant storm surges contributed to widespread damage and destruction to infrastructure, crops, livestock, and dwellings in several states across Palau. It was reported that 100% of households and infrastructure in the outer islands and at least 10% on Palau’s main island of Koror were affected. Vaccination progress for COVID-19 and other immunization programs have been hampered due to the widespread damage to households and infrastructure.
The OIA Maintenance Assistance Program is made available each year by Congress to support priorities in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states.