The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new project designed to boost the resilience of Palauan communities against the adverse effects of extreme weather events and natural disasters.

In partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the two-year, $818,000 Palau Emergency Preparedness for Enhanced Resilience (PEPER) project will work with Palau’s National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and local authorities to enhance local disaster preparedness and response capacities of communities.

“The U.S. government is pleased to support the Government of Palau’s efforts in strengthening the capacity of its agencies to prepare for, and respond to, the impacts of extreme weather events and other natural disasters,” U.S. Ambassador Amy J. Hyatt said.  “This new investment reinforces our commitment to bolster the ability of Palau and our other partner countries in the Pacific Islands region to lead their own development journeys.

Palau’s geographical location creates an increased risk of exposure to natural hazards intensified by climate change, including tropical storms, typhoons, rising sea levels, tidal surges, droughts, and earthquakes.

USAID and IOM will work with NEMO to identify six community evacuation shelters throughout Palau that will be rehabilitated and enhanced.  USAID will also provide training for school officials and other local authorities on managing an evacuation center.

The PEPER project builds off the successful work accomplished under USAID’s alii Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction program.  Since 2014, the program succeeded in establishing a disaster risk reduction curriculum that has become the national standard and supported 17 schools throughout Palau. (PR)