On November 5, 2020, the World Tsunami Awareness Day, the Ministry of Education held a handover ceremony for Tsunami Preparedness Kits provided through Japan-UNDP Partnerships for Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis. The ceremony was attended by the Honorable Sinton Soalablai, Minister for Education, Ambassador KARASAWA Akira and Ms. Aleyda Valdes, UNDP Country Project Coordinator, as well as some officials from the Government of Palau.
Japan has suffered from Tsunami countless times in its history, including the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Learning from its past tragic events, Japan started reaching out to other countries by sharing its experience and knowledge about tsunami. This project is one of Japan’s activities to support its neighboring countries such as Palau.
At the ceremony, Minister Soalablai remarked on the benefit of the partnership between Japan and UNDP that ensures the safety of students in Palau and helps them to prepare for future natural disasters. He expressed the importance of the assistance towards schools, by saying that “If you make the difference in the classroom, you can make the difference in the world.”
Ambassador Karasawa stated that it is important to be aware of the dangers of tsunami and to prepare for possible occurrence in the future. In addition, he conveyed his hope that people in Palau would be able to utilize these items in case of an emergency for the protection of lives.
Ms. Valdes on behalf of UNDP stated that this project is one of their top priorities and that they have provided Palau with several assistances for tsunami awareness. She expects that this project would not be the last one and that there will be more assistance in the future.
Japan and UNDP have also been collaborating for Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience (EDCR) Project in Palau, totaling 7.5 million dollars. The Embassy of Japan believes that the EDCR project in combination with Tsunami Project will significantly improve Palau’s capability to deal with natural disasters including tsunami.