Palau in state of emergency due to ‘extreme’ drought

Palau is now under serious threat from drought as the island nation has declared it is in a state of emergency.

Palau, a small island nation in the Micronesia Region, has declared it is in a state of emergency because of extreme drought brought by the El Nino Phenomenon. The extreme drought has placed its remaining water source at 19 percent, which not enough to cover an approximated 3.8 million gallons of water need by its population.

According to PINA, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. on Wednesday signed Executive Order no. 389 due to the declining water levels caused by seriously threaten availability and quality of potable water supply. The water shortage has reached its alarming level as Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) has started rationing water supply from 10 hours to six hours a day from 12th of March to 19th and has shortened it further to four hours last 21st of March in the highly populated states of Koror, the nation’s business capital, and Airai.

ABC reports that in a statement, Remengesau explained that over the past four months Palau’s total rainfall was at its lowest ever to be recorded since 1951. That even bottled distilled water has run out in supermarkets within the State of Koror.

Island Times also reported that the National Emergency Committee (NEC) convened and drafted recommendations that were included in the Executive Order. Included in the recommendation were notes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) reporting that Palau is in experiencing a level 3 to 4 extreme drought.

PPUC general manager Kione Isechal stated that they are hoping that their budget could hold on to find ways to augment the nation’s water crisis.

With the effects of the drought, even Palau’s Ministry of Education and the Belau Tourism Association has also expressed their concerns about the effects of the drought that will highly impact both locals and tourists.

Palau is generating closely 7,000 to 10,000 tourist arrivals every month with a majority coming from China, Taiwan, Japan and Europe. Palau is noted for its pristine dive spots and for its solid stand on declaring it nation a marine protected area.

Photo Courtesy: Abasaa/Wikimedia Commons

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