By Rolynda Jonathan
Koror, ed Palau – Elementary and high schools that have been designated as typhoons shelters will be cleared and cleaned out ahead of the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Bopha on Sunday.
Students will be released and schools closed at noon today to allow school officials time to prepare the classrooms for people seeking shelter.
Yesterday at the National Emergency Committee (NEC), Ministry of Education’s Sinton Soaladaob confirmed that schools would also remain closed on Monday following the projected day of Bopha’s landfall to allow time to assess the situation.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is also preparing to evacuate patients to temporary locations around Koror. Bed ridden and dialysis patients will be moved to the new Community Health Center in Ngerbeched, a temporary emergency room will be set up at the old Olbiil Era Kelulau building and critical patients will be moved to the old President’s building in Meyuns or hotels around Koror.
The hospital evacuation is set to go into progress on Saturday, however other preparations are already underway. MOH is also asking anyone who can volunteer their time and vehicle to assist hospital staff in the temporary relocation of patients.
Furthermore, the Palau Adventist Community Services today announced the Koror SDA church as a typhoon shelter. However, with limited space, shelter will be provided on a first-come first-serve basis. Water will be provided, but people are encouraged to bring non-perishable items, beddings, first aid kits and medications. The shelter will open its doors tomorrow for anyone seeking shelter.
In the meantime, the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) in collaboration with NEC member agencies compromising of the Weather Service Bureau, Division of Public Works, Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC), and other member agencies are tracking and monitoring Tropical Storm Bopha, encouraging the public to take necessary safety measures and advising people to evacuate to designated typhoon shelters if necessary.
NEMO declared Condition 3 today and encouraged the nation to board up windows, secure loose property or objects, prepare an emergency package containing 3-days worth of supplies such as water, food, fuel, hygienic products and other necessary items. According to NEMO, Condition 3 means the typhoon or tropical storm can reach Palau within 48 hours and people are urged to take necessary precautions and safety measures.
NEMO will continue to update the public through T8AA Eco Paradise 87.9 FM or Oceania Television Network (OTV) on channel 29.
All NEC member agencies will meet again on Saturday at 10am to make final decisions and prepare to embrace the impact of Tropical Storm Bopha or Typhoon Bopha if it has reached that level by then.