By: Nikita K. Espangel, resident of Ngkeklau village
In the village of Ngkeklau, located on the east side of Palau’s main island of Babeldoab, only three homes remain standing. Whilst Typhoon Bopha’s winds were strong, it was the storm surge that ultimately destroyed and flooded the small village.
The village was evacuated on December 1, 2012 where the villager’s sought shelter at Palau’s Capitol building. After the typhoon, as the villagers returned from the shelter, they were shocked to find that their homes were either blown away or had moved entirely. Contents of their homes found their way out of their homes and were strewn all over the surrounding grass and trees.
Villagers were told to leave everything as-is because the damage still needed to be assessed by the government. This however ran contradictory to instinct. With residents living in shelters, they wondered who would keep watch over their things. Some worried that with their stuff left exposed and scattered across the jungle, there was nothing to keep people from other villages from coming in and taking whatever they wanted. Residents currently do not even have homes to store their belongings in, so in the meantime, they gathered only what was of immediate use — pots, pans, plates, and utensils. Most don’t really know if and what aid will be coming in, but they say they don’t need much, just a roof and a place to put their things away.
The residents of Ngkeklau currently have no electricity, running water, land line or cell phone service.
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