Palau Coastal Village in Ruins After Typhoon Bopha

By Kassi Berg

The village of Ngkeklau (Ngaraard) located on the eastern coast of Palau’s largest island, this Babeldoab, advice was practically wiped out by the tidal surge of Typhoon Bopha.  Despite escaping the full brunt of the Typhoon because it veered south of Palau, the devastation of the typhoon is palpable in Ngkeklau where many of the locals are without homes and the entire village is without power, water, and communications.
Belongings from these homes litter the landscape.  Some houses were entirely destroyed and literally washed into the trees and their neighbors yards, while others were swept off their foundations nearly in tact and can be found elsewhere.  One house now sits in the middle of the road blocking access to the village.  High watermarks inside the remaining structures indicate that the tidal surge may have been as high as 10 feet.
Debris after Typhoon Bopha in Ngkeklau, Ngaraard

Aftermath of Typhoon, Ngkeklau Road

This same scene of destruction is replicated in Palau’s other states along the east coast, such as Ngiwal, where homes were flooded and flattened.  Taro patches have been inundated with salt water, destroying the crops. Coastal roads were either covered in sand and debris or heavily damaged and even impassable in some areas.
Flood in Ngiwal State, Palau in Aftermath of Typhoon Bopha
At 3:00 in the afternoon on December 3, 2012, the locals, many of them homeless, gathered around their property, devastated by loss, awaiting government officials to visit and assess the damage.
The President was said to be driving through the eastern coast of Palau before he was scheduled to meet with the National Emergency Management Office and other leaders. A state of emergency has not yet been declared.
The residents of the east coast of Palau that had evacuated to the national capitol for refuge will continue to stay there until another option is determined. The government has announced that it will be closed tomorrow, December 4, 2012, as the national capitol is still acting as a shelter.

1 thought on “Palau Coastal Village in Ruins After Typhoon Bopha”

  1. Thank you, OTV, for your continued reporting.
    In your recent report called “Palau is Set to Get Lashed By A ‘One in A Million’ Typhoon” on December 2, 2012, you write, “Yet, what makes Typhoon Bopha a ‘typhoon in a million’ is that it has developed five-degrees from the equator, an area which is covered by the ‘Coriolis force.'”
    Coriolis forces are what help cause cyclones to form by causing their rotation. However, at or near the equator, where Supertyphoon Bopha formed, the Coriolis forces are not present or are very weak, depending on how close to the equator. The fact that Supertyphoon Bopha formed in an area effectively NOT “covered” by the Coriolis effect is what makes it a highly unusual one.
    And so it is as you called it a “one in a million” typhoon (or highly unusual) for the opposite reason from what you reported. It formed where there are none or weak Coriolis forces (at or near the equator). In other words, a cyclone formed where there are little to no forces to help cause a rotation for one to begin which is very unusual.
    Thanks, again.

Comments are closed.