Residents of the Southwest Islands in Palau were treated with a series of new High Frequency (HF) radio installations in Sonsorol, Tobi, Pulo Anna and Helen Reef as part of the enhancing communication capabilities for both VHF (Very High Frequency) and HF radios in Palau. 

The installation of the HF radios was completed with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, through the Japan-funded Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience (EDCR) project. 

The installation was undertaken around June 15-25 with the support of the Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC), Ministry of Education (MOE), Hatohobei/Sonsorol State Governments, and National Emergency Management Office (NEMO). The installation will enhance communication capabilities of the Southwest islands (Sonsorol, Pulo Anna, Hatohobei & Helen Reef) with the State Offices in Koror, health concerns with the Belau National Hospital and education learning needs with the Ministry of Education in Koror.

A total of 18 were trained in the four islands, five of them women. They are now well equipped to operate the HF radio with the associated email feature.

Additionally, with the cooperation of the Division of Maritime Security, Fish and Wildlife Protection (DMLE), the solar systems were transported from Koror to the Southwest islands by “KEDAM”, provided by The Nippon Foundation, a Japanese organization.

In acknowledging the HF radio installation, Hon. Huana K. Nestor, Governor of Hatohobei State said, “I am very happy for this HF radio with email features. We never use this before in Tobi, and this is the first time. Thank you, UNDP, for helping with us with the new technology and now much easier to connect with the hospital and our liaison officer in Koror”.

Ms. Brenda Tarimel, PNCC Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) mentioned that “PNCC is proud of the opportunity to work with our partners in UNDP, NEMO, MOE and especially the local state governments of Sonsorol and Tobi on successful completion of these projects.”

His Excellency Mr. KARASAWA Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Palau stated, “the provision of radio systems to key locations in Palau, including the Southwest Islands, is essential in ensuring the safety of the People of Palau as the radio systems offer secure means of communication in the event of natural disasters, such as typhoons. I am very proud that Japan is able to contribute to this end. I would like to send my compliments to the Government of Palau, UNDP, and all those who were involved in this mission”.

Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said, “The Installation of the HF radio and email features will enhance communication capabilities with Southwest islands and bridge communication divide allowing more informed interaction on issues of developmental concerns”.

Similar HF radio systems were installed at the hospital in Koror, NEMO, Ministry of Education and the two respective state offices in April and May 2022. This also complements the VHF radio systems installed in Kayangel, Peleliu and Angaur. The installation of the HF/VHF radio systems, logistics and other associated activities amounts to approximately US$387,000.

The 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.

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