Tropical Storm Rai passed over Palau last week, sparing the island from any serious damage, but unfortunately went on to become Supertyphoon Rai (Typhoon Odette as it was called in the Philippines) and wreaked havoc across the country, leaving 200 dead and more still missing.

Palau was spared the wrath of Rai according to the assessment report conducted by the Palau Red Cross. There was minimal damage to residential and public infrastructures.

Unlike Typhoon Surigae, which was accompanied by heavy rains causing flooding and landslides, Tropical Storm Rai did not cause landslides or flooding.

Of the 3,178 households surveyed by Palau Red Cross, 2,763 or 87% reported zero damages.  239 households reported minor damages, most of which were in Koror, Kayangel, Peleliu, Ngiwal, and Ngaraard. Angaur and Ngardmau also reported a few minor damages. Of households with major damages, only 17 were reported. Most were in Koror, Angaur, and Kayangel.

Tropical Storm Rai picked up speed and became a typhoon when it passed through the Philippines, bringing heavy rains with it. As of yesterday, a reported 200 hundred people have died and more are still missing as some districts have not reported due to power outages.

Storms, typhoons, and other extreme weather conditions are expected to increase in intensity and frequency according to the 2020 PIRCA Assessment Report on Climate Change in Palau.

Preparing for disaster is expected to become a norm as Palau experiences more extreme weather conditions. The early warning system, one of the components of disaster preparedness, helps to mitigate damage. “The cost after the disaster is much greater than the cost of preparing for disaster,” stated Minister Obichang of MPII on the early preparation for Storm Rai this month.

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