Disaster Communication in Palau enhanced with HF and VHF radios

September 19, 2022
Group photo

Group photo after the official handover of the VHF/HF and ICT equipment at the NEMO Operations Centre.

Photo: UNDP

Koror, Palau - Disaster communication has been upgraded in Palau following the supply of 12 High Frequency (HF) radios and five Very High Frequency (VHF) radios which were installed at 12 locations around the island country. An official handover was held on 9 September 2022, attended by Hon. J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Vice-President and Minister for Justice, Chargé d'affaires of Japan Ms. HAGIWARA Mayu and UNDP North Pacific Office Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Kevin Petrini. 

This activity has been completed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Enhancing Disaster and Climate Resilience in the Republic of Palau through the improved Disaster Preparedness and Infrastructure (EDCR Palau) Project and COVID-19 Support Project, which are both financed by the Government of Japan. 

The upgrade of the HF and VHF radios will enhance the coordination of crisis management especially for remote and offshore states of Hatohobei, Sonsorol, Kayangel, Angaur and Peleliu. Moreover, it will strengthen communications between these islands and main organizations in the Capital Koror, such as the National Emergency Management Office, Hospital and Ministry of Education. 

Radio is an essential means of communication for these islands. For instance, the project installed HF radios in four remote islands of Sonsorol, Merir Island, Tobi and Helen Reef, which are around 500km - 600km away from the main island and access to these islands are limited only to chartered boats by state governments or patrol boats. The project has supplied HF radios with special features to ensure State officers in these remote islands can communicate directly to the main hospital in the capital more accurately by sending documents via email features installed with the HF radios. A resident from Sonsorol Island affirmed “this is more convenient for us to send emails and you don’t have to talk all the time”.

The Vice President and Minister for Justice, Hon. J. Uduch Sengebau Senior in her opening remarks said, “As Chair of the NEC, reliable and redundant communication has proven time and time again as a crucial and essential pillar in disaster risk management. I can honestly say that Palau is in an even better state of operational readiness by this activity alone.”

Group photo

(L-R) Vice President and Minister for Justice, Hon. J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Chargé d'affaires of Japan, Ms. HAGIWARA Mayu and UNDP North Pacific Office Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Kevin Petrini.

Photo: UNDP

She added, “When we pull back and gauge, at a birds-eye view, of this entire project, from the AM tower to a siren system and now 24 hours, seven days a week consistent communication to the most remote parts of Palau, the NEC and NEMO family can rest a little better knowing that many challenges and gaps have been addressed through this EDCR project, generously funded by the people and government of Japan”.

The installation work was implemented with a wide range of partners in Palau, including the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC), Ministry of Education, Palau Energy Authority under the leadership of the Vice President and Minister of Justice. 

The Chargé d'affaires of Japan Ms. HAGIWARA Mayu in her remarks said, "I appreciate the intensive support of UNDP, the Government of Palau and State Governments to realize this impactful project. I hope the equipment handed over today will be used for a long time as a new symbol of our long friendship between Japan and Palau and partnership with UNDP."

UNDP North Pacific Office Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Kevin Petrini in his special remarks said, “The radio installation will strengthen coordination of crisis management, facilitate the interface of information flow and complement the AM Broadcasting system signal reach, especially for the remote Southwest states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol. Moving forward this communication operability will be enhanced with the National Emergency Management Office, Hospital and Ministry of Education.” 

The UNDP EDCR project, since its commencement in 2019 with a total resource of US$7.5million, aims to improve the capacity for preparedness and mitigation to man-made, geo-physical and climate related hazards and to climate change impact through three expected outputs:

  1. Strengthened Disaster Communication and Climate and Tsunami Monitoring Systems, to be implemented 
  2. Enhanced National and State Disaster preparedness capacity, to be implemented 
  3. Enhanced Community Disaster and Climate Resilience through improved water and food resource management and inclusive livelihood diversification, to be implemented

The COVID-19 Response Support project provided supports to the Pacific countries in the following three priorities: 

  1. Health systems strengthening to respond to COVID-19
  2. Inclusive and multi-sectoral crisis management and responses; and 
  3. Addressing the socio-economic impact of COVID-19  

For more information, please contact: 
Paula Cirikiyasawa, Country Project Coordinator, EDCR Project Office in the Republic of Palau, Tel: +(691) 320 4456, Email: paula.cirikiyasawa@undp.org