Palau President Remengesau thanks Taiwan for typhoon disaster relief


TAIPEI — Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. recently thanked Taiwan for the rapid response and strong support in offering relief supplies to his country after it was ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November.

In an interview with CNA, Remengesau said the Taiwanese government and the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China were just like Santa Claus, delivering urgently needed supplies to residents impacted by the typhoon.

Haiyan pounded the Pacific island country’s northeastern state of Kayangel Nov. 8, leaving damage unseen in the state since 1976, when it was hit by another powerful storm.

While 16 of the 79 residents of Kayangel, who stayed in their homes despite an order to evacuate, survived the typhoon, most of the buildings there were left roofless and without water or electricity, even over one month after the disaster.

With the world’s attention focused on the devastation in the Philippines, which suffered far greater loss of life and damage from the same storm, the Palau president said he decided to write to Taiwan’s Red Cross Society and other agencies in the United States and Japan because of the scant response from his own country’s Red Cross Society.

After receiving the letter from Remengesau, Wang Ching-feng, chairwoman of Taiwan’s Red Cross Society said her agency began sourcing portable housing units, as well as food and water containers, which were delivered by the R.O.C. Navy.

The first batch of supplies arrived in Palau Dec. 18 and the second is scheduled to be delivered early next year, Taiwan’s Red Cross Society said, adding that the total cost is expected to be around US$750,000.

Remengesau said the affected residents, who were evacuated to the country’s Koror State, are expected to be able to return to Kayangel in the coming months.