[AM Tower Antenna Section 1 Installation Ceremony on-site, Malakal Hilltop, Koror, Palau. (Photo: UNDP)

15 April 2022 (Koror, Palau) – The installation of the first section of the Amplitude Modulation (AM) Broadcasting System antenna totaling US$755,920.45 was initiated on Friday 15 April 2022 by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) under the “Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience in the Republic of Palau through the improved Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure (EDCR Palau)” Project to enhance disaster communications in Palau.

When Typhoon Bopha and Typhoon Haiyan hit Palau in 2012 and 2013, the country lost a vital communication tool for emergencies and disasters, as the Amplitude Modulation (AM) antenna was damaged. As a result, the national broadcaster lost its reach nationwide and could not communicate to its people, especially those living on remote islands. Since the Typhoons, the AM radio frequency, which conveys vital information, especially regarding natural-related disasters, could be heard by the far remote southern islands of Sonsorol, Hatohobei, the Northern Island of Kayangel, as well as by boats sailing within the Exclusive Economic Zone.

With the Japanese Government funding, UNDP’s intervention will allow Palau to regain the nation-wide broadcasting service once again.

The initiative is supporting the Bureau of Archives and Media, under the Ministry of State, which is responsible for disseminating public policy and public awareness materials, including disaster-related warnings and awareness via radio programs. Radio in particular has a strong role to play in keeping communities up to date with events and advising them of practical steps to take to reduce the impact of disasters. It remains one of the most trusted media and plays a critical role in delivering life-saving information, especially in rural and remote areas.

The reconstruction of the AM broadcasting system is being implemented with a wide range of partners in Palau, including the Bureau of Public Works, the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), the Koror State and Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), all under the leadership of Vice President and Minister of Justice.

The installation of the first section of the AM broadcasting system was witnessed by the Minister for Public Infrastructure and Industries, Hon. Charles Obichang, Minister for State, Hon. Gustavo Aitaro, His Excellency Mr. KARASAWA Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Palau and Mr. Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.

His Excellency Mr. KARASAWA Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Palau mentioned “for disaster preparedness, the prompt dissemination of information is essential to protect the life and property of the people. In this regard, the construction of the AM Tower is one of the most important elements of this disaster relief project. I hope that this AM tower will greatly improve communication capabilities in Palau to achieve the immediate dissemination of information in times of disaster including typhoons.”

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative Mr. Levan Bouadze in his remarks during the ceremony, mentioned that UNDP is able to work with the Government of Palau to restore communication, and reconstruct the AM broadcasting system and its associated bandwidth capabilities to allow important messages to be relayed across to the furthest Southwest Islands of Palau in real time and in anytime of the day.”

This support has been made possible through UNDP under the project entitled “Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience in the Republic of Palau through improved Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure,” funded by the Government of Japan for a total of US$7.5million.

The UNDP EDCR project, since its commencement in 2019, has provided equipment strategic to Palau’s disaster risk management. The project aims to strengthen gender sensitive disaster communication and climate monitoring systems; enhance gender sensitive national and state disaster responder’s readiness capacity; and enhance community disaster resilience through improved water resource management and integrated gender and social inclusion awareness.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Cirikiyasawa, Country Project Coordinator, EDCR Project Office in the Republic of Palau, Tel: +(691) 320 4456, Email: paula.cirikiyasawa@undp.org

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. The UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji provides country and regional support to 15 countries in the Pacific, as part of the 177-country office UNDP network, and offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.pacific.undp.org

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