Vice President and Justice Minister Raynold Oilouch (left) signing the grant program yesterday, April 22. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)  

Japan, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), had allocated millions of dollars to enhance disaster risk reduction infrastructures and projects of North Pacific island countries with Palau receiving a total of $7,500,000 from the grant.

National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) Coordinator Waymine Towai, during the signing of the grant program yesterday, April 22, told the media that the bulk of the fund will be spent mostly to infrastructure developments intended for disaster risk reduction such as construction of the AM Tower and installation of automated weather stations and early warning or siren system throughout the country.

Palau, along with Pacific island nations such as the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), was the recipient of the grant which will be implemented by the UNDP.

The project is aimed at building Palau’s resilience to “man-made, geo-physical, climate and different types of related hazards” and climate change.

The fund allocated for Palau will be spent for the development of three key areas of disaster risk reduction such as strengthening of disaster communication and climate and Tsunami monitoring systems, enhancing national and state preparedness capacity, and improving community disaster and climate resilience through improved water and food resource management including livelihood diversification.

Ten agencies in Palau such as NEMO, the Weather Service Office (WSO), Ministry of State, Palaris, Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS), Ministry of Education, Bureau of Agriculture (BOA), and the Palau Red Cross Society (PRCS), among others, will take direct responsibilities on specific activities related to the disaster risk reduction projects, according to Towai.

The project duration commenced last March 18 and will end on March 17.

Towai said that the UNDP will be in charge of the procurement process for the projects while the respective agencies will handle the implementation. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)