Palau — On October 28 and 29, the Palau National Weather Service Office and the Palau National Emergency Management offices participated in a two-day workshop with the focus on collectively reviewing early warning processes for potentially hazardous weather conditions. The workshop included a review of respective areas of responsibility and a robust conversation and agreement about specific steps that can be taken to improve early warnings to such hazard events. The event was co-facilitated by the National Weather Service, Weather Forecasting Office on Guam and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and was made possible with funding by USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs. The event was also observed by Ms. Paula Miller, USAID’s Country Coordinator to the Republic of Palau.
The two-day event was opened by The Honorable J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Vice President of Palau, Minister of Justice and Chairperson of the National Emergency Committee.
“There is simply no time for preparedness, planning, or even prevention once an emergency situation is upon us. The rate of speed, efficiency, and capability of an agency’s response can make a massive difference in the overall impacts of an emergency or disaster. I cannot stress it enough that this workshop is essential and critical to ensure all members of the NEMO and Palau Weather Service Team are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities as they relate to each other internally and externally. The NWS and NEMO have extensive collaboration and partnership that enable them to adapt and stay abreast with the inconsistent changes in weather phenomena. It is workshops like these that enable our agencies to remain on their toes and roll with the extreme weather punches,” said Madam Vice President Sengebau Senior.
She went on to express her gratitude saying, “I would like to extend our appreciation to the USAID and the International Organization for Migration, the Guam National Weather Forecasting office, and of course, to our round the clock teams of NEMO and the Palau National Weather Service.”
The need for the event was well highlighted by Mr. Marcus “Landon” Aydlett, the Warning Coordination
Meteorologist from the Guam Weather Forecasting Office.
“Routine tropical cyclone workshops and exercises, such as this event, bring decision makers together to discuss a range of possible disaster scenarios–to analyze decision points and actions to ensure the public is best prepared to mitigate loss of life and property,” he said. “Frequent communication and collaboration between key weather and emergency management officials is critical in ensuring decision makers perform their best when nature is at its worst,” Mr. Aydlett stated.
Following the workshop, Mr. Waymine Towai, Executive Director of the National Emergency Management Office expressed the important role that it played.
“Like any other emergency management entity, we rely critically on partnership and subject matter experts to be able to communicate the risks to the public at large. This timely workshop was a great capacity-building opportunity to revisit plans and procedures and to amend them in accordance with what is vital today,” he said.
Director Towai also extended his appreciation to USAID, IOM, the Guam National Weather Forecasting Office and the Palau National Weather Service Office, saying, “This collaboration was a true testament to the united efforts within the region to stay ahead of the impacts of natural disasters.”
Dilwei “Maria” Ngemaes echoed Director Towai’s appreciation for all of the sponsors, facilitators and participants, and also noted, “The enthusiasm and the ability to motivate us from both the IOM Team and the Guam Weather Forecasting Office has resulted in a significant increase in productivity and profitability of both of our agencies in times of disaster and or emergency in Palau; and this workshop would not have been a success without everyone’s commitment and active involvement.”
US Ambassador, Hennessy-Niland, also offered a statement and appreciation, “It is a workshop like this that helps key agencies coordinate better and keep everyone safer during the chaos of an emergency. It is refreshing to see this kind of planning and leadership among these offices. Thanks to USAID, IOM and Guam Weather Forecasting Office for convening this workshop.”