By Rolynda Jonathan
On June 25-26, here 2013, help heavy rainfalls caused an unusual flooding event and mudslides in Palau.
Heavy rainfall, which mostly affected Babeldaob, Palau’s main island, caused major rivers to overflow flooding surrounding areas and mudslides on the compact road.
OTV reporters stumbled upon Dennis Eledui’s house in Ngerikiil, Airai on June 26, surrounded by about 3-4 feet of water.
The water was flowing rapidly forcing the family to vacate the house.
Majority of their belongings were destroyed or damaged by the water. Some of their belongings were even dragged out of the house.
Palau Red Cross Society, who was alerted on the same day, dispatched a team to assess on the situation. According to a Red Cross official, clothing’s and beddings were put together for the family.
In addition to Dennis’ house, a piggery down the street was found flooded. Taro patches, farms and other areas around the Ngerikiil area also experienced some flooding.
OTV contacted several agencies of the government including the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) for more information about the government’s response.
NEMO told OTV that a two-member team was sent out to document the flooded home. An announcement was also made to warn residents of floods and landslides. However, no other actions were taken.
There seems to be some confusion in the national government of how agencies respond to small-scale flooding or natural disasters.
Vice President and Chairman of NEMO Antonio Bells was contacted for comments, but told OTV that he has no knowledge of the flooding in question.
The Environmental Health, who were also contacted told OTV they had no knowledge of the event, and have not received any alerts regarding the matter.
There may be potential health hazards as a result of the flooding around residential areas, piggeries and farms, however there’s no assessment or reporting that has determined whether hazards exist.