Palauans gathered at Ernguul Park together with foreigners after a fun run. (File Photo)

For the first time in Palau’s known history, three people died on the first day of the new year 2019.  Each year is usually marked by a new year baby but this 2019 saw no new baby born on New Year’s day.

This follows the trend of declining birth rate and rising death rate in Palau, resulting in about 1% population growth rate. This takes into account births, deaths and outmigration and in migration.

Statistics shows that Palau’s population has been below 2.5% since 1995 and has continue declining ever since.  It is estimated that 2018, population growth was at 1%.

This New Year’s Day, three people passed away of natural causes. Father Wayne Tkel, a Catholic priest was conducting New Year mass in Peleliu when he passed away.  Antonio Mikel, a former employee of the Ministry of Finance also died of natural causes and Ibechui Wasisang of Ibobang, also passed away from long illness at the Belau National Hospital.

The national hospital only reported one birth on Christmas day but none on New Year.